Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Blake Bivens’ manager, teammates describe Rays prospect at the center of a tragedy

Montgomery manager Morgan Ensberg fights back tears sharing the moment Bivens received the news of his wife and son’s death in a triple homicide.
Montgomery Biscuits manager Morgan Ensberg, left, fights back tears as Ryan Thompson, a pitcher with the team, talks about teammate Blake Bivens and the news that Bivens' wife and child were killed in Virginia. [KIRSTEN FISCUS/ADVERTISER | KIRSTEN FICUS | Advertiser]
Published Aug. 30

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Blake Bivens spent 2,020 days dating his high school sweetheart, Emily, before he spent 398 days engaged to her.

Their wedding was based on their mutual love of God. Emily Bernard Bivens’ hair cascaded around her shoulders in loose curls as a long-sleeved, lace mermaid gown covered her. He, with a baseball boutonniere, wore a slick suit, white bow-tie and a wide smile on that January day.

Bivens spent 1,326 days married to Emily. He only got 443 days with his blond, curly haired son, Cullen.

MORE RAYS: Family of Rays prospect Blake Bivens killed in triple homicide

The Rays prospect and Montgomery Biscuits pitcher was preparing for a doubleheader against Chattanooga when he learned Tuesday morning that his wife, son and mother-in-law, Joan Bernard, had been slain in Virginia, and that his brother-in-law, 18-year-old Matthew Bernard, was allegedly responsible.

Biscuits manager Morgan Ensberg was with Bivens when it became apparent he needed to fly home.

“I’ll never forget his face. He was scared,” Ensberg said Thursday during a news conference. “He was nervous. He didn’t know what was going on. He couldn’t get in touch with his family and so we knew something was obviously wrong.”

“We put him in a car to go to the airport and three minutes later we found out what happened. I hopped in the car and went to the airport with him.”

Ensberg and Bivens flew together, along with two other staff members. The manager was with Bivens when he walked into his family’s home and when he spoke with police.

Law enforcement officials in the Keeling area of Pittsylvania County, Va., were still working Thursday to learn what motivated Bernard to attack his mother, sister and nephew. Bernard has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

Bivens’ baseball career was a constant throughout his relationship with his wife. If the boutonnieres at the wedding didn’t demonstrate their love for the game, their wedding cake, sporting two figurines resembling the couple — her with a baseball bat and him with a glove and ball in his hands — did.

READ THE FULL STORY here at montgomeryadvertiser.com

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Sporting News is honoring the work manager Kevin Cash, left, and general manager Erik Neander, right, did for the 2019 Tampa Bay Rays. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Cash was honored as top AL manager, Neander as MLB Executive of the Year
  2. In this July 24, 2016, file photo, Chicago Cubs' David Ross throws out a Milwaukee Brewers batter during a baseball game in Milwaukee. The former catcher reportedly will become the next manager of the Cubs. (AP Photo/Benny Sieu, File) BENNY SIEU  |  AP
    Cubs President Theo Epstein would be banking on the leadership Ross showed during a 15-year playing career.
  3. Bucs linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul is back. Can he help Tampa Bay get back into NFC playoff contention? MARK LOMOGLIO  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Can JPP save the Bucs’ season? Plus: Can anything save Willie Taggart in Tallahasse? Why couldn’t the Yankees save themselves?
  4. The Nationals' Juan Soto hits a two-run double off Astros starter Gerrit Cole during the fifth inning of the World Series opener. Soto also hits a solo home run. ERIC GAY  |  AP
    Washington holds on for a 5-4 victory in Houston.
  5. Nicholas, a rescued bottlenose dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, made his World Series pick. Photo provided by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
    The Astros opened as the biggest World Series favorite in 12 seasons. But check out what’s going on poolside at Clearwater Marine Aquarium before making your bets.
  6. Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer warms up during batting practice for baseball's World Series Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Houston. The Houston Astros face the Washington Nationals in Game 1 on Tuesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) DAVID J. PHILLIP  |  AP
    Predictions from Marc Topkin, Martin Fennelly and John Romano.
  7. Karsyn Waechter, Riley Vigue and Avery Vigue are extending the athletic legacies of their fathers. Alissa Vigue, Special to the Times
    Doug Waechter and former Rays minor-leaguer are passing their love of the game on to their daughters and their teammates
  8. Between the potential of historic pitching matchups, the emergence of Juan Soto and the heroics of Jose Altuve, this Washington-Houston World Series has more going for it than the Vegas odds might suggest. MATT SLOCUM | AP Photo MATT SLOCUM  |  AP
    The Astros are the heaviest favorites the World Series has seen since 2007. Still, there is reason to believe his Fall Classic has memorable moments ahead.
  9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston talks to reporters after an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. The Saints won 31-24. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) BUTCH DILL  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: What’s next for the Bucs, Astros-National World Series preview, the Lightning’s short-circuit start
  10. Davey Martinez gained valuable experience as a coach behind Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay. But when Maddon exited, the Rays bypassed him for a "new voice," Kevin Cash. Tampa Bay Times
    After failing to land a half-dozen manager jobs, including with the Rays, Martinez and Nats ended up a good match.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement