Welcome to The Upper Deck, Baseball America’s daily look at the biggest stories around the game and some lighter fare.
The Indians tied a franchise record with their 14th straight win Wednesday, and amazingly, it’s the second year in a row in which they’ve won 14 in a row. Only the 1912-13 Giants and 1935-36 Cubs had win streaks of at least 14 games two years in a row. The AL champs now have a magic number of 13 to clinch the AL Central.
South Florida, obviously, has way more important things to do tonight than go to Nationals-Marlins. Here's a photo at first pitch. pic.twitter.com/20nlhzj2fR
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) September 6, 2017
Sports are a minor consideration as a Category 5 hurricane heads toward Florida. That said, MLB teams are leaving Florida or avoiding the state as one of the largest storms ever recorded bears down on the Southeast.
The Marlins played the Nationals in what appeared to be a nearly empty Marlins Park—hold the jokes about attendance. Miami Beach and other low-lying areas were told to evacuate.
Marlins Park has a roof to protect from storm damage but the roof will be open in several spots, said Claude Delorme, the team’s executive vice president of operations and events.
“It allows the air and the pressure to come inside the ballpark and eventually leave the ballpark,” Delorme told Tim Healey of the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “It avoids putting a lot of uplift on the roof. It was designed that way so we wouldn’t get any major damage to our roof.”
Marlins Park could be used as a shelter for those displaced by Irma, if Miami-Dade County officials ask, Delorme said.
Meanwhile, the Rays are allowing players and staff to bring families on a flight to Boston to avoid Irma, BA correspondent Marc Topkin reported.
“I’m pretty (much) kind of panicking about it; I don’t know what to do,” Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier told Topkin.
It’s unclear whether the Rays will play host to the Yankees at Tropicana Field starting Monday, with Irma set to make landfall Sunday.
"The little that I've heard is that we could possibly fly in on Monday and play a game on Tuesday and a doubleheader maybe on Wednesday," Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters. "We could possibly fly in on Tuesday and play a doubleheader on Wednesday and figure out how to make up the other game. We've talked about moving it. So nothing is really clear. I think it's probably about as uncertain as the exact track of the storm. I think that has a lot to do with it.”
For Dodgers center fielder Enrique Hernandez, Irma was more personal. He lives in Puerto Rico and the storm struck there Wednesday, knocking out the island’s notoriously spotty power grid.
"That could be three to four months without power," Hernandez told reporters. "It's a really scary situation. I'm just really helpless right now. Puerto Rico is about the size of Dodger Stadium."
Rangers players were also monitoring the massive storm’s path.
“They don’t want to leave,” Adrian Beltre told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News of his parents, who live in Santo Domingo, the capitol on the southern side of the island of Hispaniola. “They are watching and they are aware, but they’ve been through it before.”
The Rangers also have about 70 people, including players and staff, at the club’s Dominican academy in Boca Chica.
ANOTHER TRIAD TEAM?
With big league-affiliated clubs in Greensboro (Marlins), Winston-Salem (White Sox) and Burlington (Royals), can the area support an indy ball club? Apparently High Point will find out.
According to Greensboro.com, the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League will play in a new stadium in downtown High Point in 2019. The Bluefish already knew they were leaving Connecticut, but weren’t sure where they end up.
"We're keenly interested in High Point," Atlantic League president Rick White told Greensboro.com. "… The purpose of the venue is for all of the right reasons. That community really wants to revitalize (its) downtown. Downtown High Point would rival any place in America economically based on the two furniture markets but … city leaders want to improve the vibrancy of everyday culture. We can be a part of that."
According to Greensboro.com, the Bluefish will leave Connecticut after next season.