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Sports Authority

Kolakowski: Hurricane Harvey is bigger than baseball

| Wednesday, August 30, 2017

In recent days, Hurricane Harvey has had a tremendous impact on south Texas. The storm made landfall in Rockport, Texas, later making its way up to Houston. Harvey has swept through the gulf coast of the state, leaving destroyed homes and flooded infrastructure in its wake. Currently, 19 are counted as dead while several others are still missing. Many of those who are safe from harm have a long road to recovery ahead.

Due to the flooding and damage in south Texas, the division-leading Houston Astros were given the difficult task of determining how they would play their upcoming home games. While Minute Maid Park, the Astros’ home ballpark, is in good condition, the city of Houston cannot support their team at this time. It would be unsafe for fans to travel to the park, and it is not in the best interest of the city to be hosting Major League Baseball games. The next home series for the Astros comes against the Texas Rangers, a divisional rival that has their own playoff aspirations. The Astros and Rangers have one final series scheduled next month in Arlington, so the Astros requested to simply trade the home sites of the two series. The upcoming series would then take place in Arlington, and the final series would take place in Houston.

The Rangers declined.

From a baseball perspective, the reasoning of the Rangers makes some sense here. The organization surely doesn’t want to lose the ticket revenue from trading locations at the last minute. Additionally, the Rangers are on the fringe of the American League wild card race, sitting 3 games behind the Minnesota Twins. It is logical that they do not want to suddenly change locations, possibly making their players uncomfortable. It is also understandable that the Rangers do not want to desert an important home series in exchange for a road series during the most critical month of the season.

Reid Ryan, president of the Houston Astros, indicated that the Rangers decided not to trade series locations. The upcoming series has now been relocated to St. Petersburg, Florida, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays, and fans are outraged. People are taking to social media to criticize the Rangers organization. Individuals across the nation are weighing in on the matter. Everyone seems to notice the disagreement that is taking place between the Astros and the Rangers.

Unfortunately, these same fans do not seem to notice the tragedy that is taking place in Houston.

This is not about a Rangers organization that declined to trade series locations. This is not about an Astros team that now has to play six home games in a foreign ballpark. This is not about baseball in any sense.

Hurricane Harvey is a whole lot bigger than baseball. Stop the Twitter reactions. Stop the talking heads who have a problem with the Rangers organization. While it is unfortunate that the Astros have to play home games in Florida, it is not a disaster.

The disaster is that many in Houston do not know where they will be living for an undetermined amount of time. The disaster is that many in Houston do not know where or when they will receive their next meal. The disaster is that lives have been lost.

Individuals across the country cannot simply point fingers and shame the Rangers organization. Rather, we, as a nation, should rally together and care for our fellow Americans during their time of need.

This is bigger than the Rangers. This is bigger than the Astros. Hurricane Harvey is bigger than baseball.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

About Ryan Kolakowski

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