|Dylan Cozens, image- Jay Floyd|
Last week, as he rang in his 26th birthday, Dylan Cozens wasn't celebrating. Instead, he took to the streets in the midst of rioting to protect local businesses in his native Scottsdale, AZ.
After 1:00 AM, Cozens, a former Phillies outfield prospect and current Rays minor leaguer, caught a glimpse of some rowdy happening on Facebook Live. Posts showed violence and thievery and the former second round draft selection wasn't going to let it continue.
"When I saw what they were doing and the reason behind it, I decided to try and stop it because it wasn't right. It had nothing to do with Black Lives Matter. It was a hate crime to go and try to destroy businesses and loot and hurt people," Cozens said on Monday.
Explaining that individuals he encountered out, in the middle or the night, weren't holding signs, and weren't peacefully protesting for a good cause, Cozens stated they were people only present to commit crimes.
Armed with a flash light and a pair of hand cuffs, the six-foot-six 235-pound Cozens and his friend, Ryan Fisher, who is an equally imposing fitness athlete, swiftly set out for the local businesses they'd seen at risk of being destroyed and crippled.
Physical altercations did not occur, as the appearance of Cozens, who documented some of the action on his Instagram account, and his partner in fighting crime was enough to deter evil doers.
"Ryan basically looked like a SWAT agent, so I think having him there, for sure, scared people," Cozens shared. "But we didn't touch anyone. (We) just basically told them to stop and get out and put the stuff down."
Cozens stands firmly against racism and, as a young American, is in disbelief at the fact that it's still a major issue in America today.
"I don't know what the key to ending the systemic racism but I will always support black communities because there is an issue and the more people that can realize that the better," said Cozens. "I think it's been going on for far too long and people that act racist need to be held accountable by everyone. There is no place in this world for that."
The Double-A Eastern League Most Valuable Player in 2016 when he slashed .276/.350/.591 and slammed 40 home runs for the Reading Fightin Phils, Cozens has not enjoyed much success in a couple brief stints in the big leagues. In 27 major leagues games to date, he notched a .154 average with a home run and two RBI.
Released by the Phillies in August last season, he was quickly signed by the Tampa Bay Rays. He was slated as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training this year and appeared in 12 games prior to the baseball schedule being halted due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Cozens is staying busy during the baseball hiatus with his new business. Over the off-season, he became a licensed contractor and currently does all the basics such as flooring, painting, frame work and masonry.
"My dad was a successful builder back in the day, so I figured it would be a great thing, (post-baseball), to do," Cozens explained. "You don't need a degree and can make a good living and it's always good to have a back up plan. I eventually would love to start building custom homes and apartment complexes."
As for the 2020 season, when asked if he has a preference for how things should proceed in the midst of a pandemic, Cozens kept it simple.
"I would just love to play," Cozens said.
And we'd love to see the concrete layin', home run sprayin' powerhouse back on the diamond as well. Be kind and play ball!