The Double-A Huntsville Stars pushed back today's series-opener against Jacksonville until tomorrow, and will offer free tickets to all local residents. The 11 a.m. game is the team's first home contest since tornadoes rolled through the city last Wednesday.
The team called off today's game for practical and safety issues—the ballpark and most local businesses were without electricity until late Sunday night, Stars general manager Buck Rogers said, and they were concerned about providing adequate housing for visiting players and umpires. Curfews had been in place in Huntsville, and more storms were forecast for today.
While the team was on the road over the weekend, Huntsville opened up Joe W. Davis Municipal Stadium as a sanctuary for relief workers and local residents. Although the ballpark had no electricity, its kitchen—which works off gas heat—remained in working order. The team dished out roughly 8,000 meals, Rogers said, as several local restaurants emptied their freezers and brought food to the ballpark that would have spoiled.
"We had some really good food here," Rogers said. "Nobody was going to starve in this town."
The Stars hope to provide relief to fans once more with the free game tomorrow.
"The best thing we can do is take their minds off of everything going on," Rogers said. "We don't feel right about charging then for (the game). We're going to do one for the community—it's the least we can do for the support they've given us for the last couple of years."