Steve DeSalvo spent this morning contacting each of his fellow Southern League general managers, making sure that they and their employees had survived the storms that ravaged the South yesterday.
A few hours later, the Mississippi general manager, who also serves as the league vice president, had reached everyone on his list except one—Southern League president Don Mincher, who works out of his home in Huntsville, Ala. After a series of phone calls went unanswered, DeSalvo enlisted Huntsville Stars general manager Buck Rogers to drive to Mincher's house to check in on him.
Mincher, who is recovering from triple-bypass surgery a few months ago, had simply lost power in his home, and Rogers found him safe and sound with family.
Each of the Southern League teams also escaped the storms with little damage despite the destruction in many of their communities. DeSalvo said a handful of teams reported only minor damage at their facilities, and each team's employees were accounted for. All five of this evening's games are expected to go on as scheduled.
DeSalvo said the league left the decision to each team on whether to play tonight.
"Each GM has been in their city for a long time and have a good pulse on their city for what's right and what's appropriate," he said. "If I was asked individually, that's what I would tell them: They have to make their best judgment call."
Huntsville begins a five-game road trip this evening before returning home to face Jacksonville on May 3. Those games could be in jeopardy, Rogers said, as the city is without power and could be for another five-to-seven days.
In the meantime, Rogers sent most of his employees home for the week and set up his ballpark as a rest station of sorts for local rescue workers. The team provided food and refreshments for the rescue workers, and will give away the remaining food in the ballpark in exchange for a donation to the relief efforts.
"We're surviving, we're getting through it," Rogers said this morning. "It's just quiet here right now. Creepy quiet."