Even after Hurricane Harvey blew through the area earlier this week, the Texas League is confident there will be baseball at Corpus Christi’s Whataburger Field to close the season. The stadium sustained damage due the heavy wind and rain the storm brought, but the results were minor enough that league president Tim Purpura sees no reason that the Hooks’ season-ending homestand will have to move to San Antonio (the visiting team) or a neutral site.
“They expect to be up and running,” Purpura said. “They’re testing out the stadium lights (Tuesday afternoon), so I think it looks pretty good. We’re not expecting anything, really, from a weather point of view. This thing seems to be shifting east as opposed to west. So I think we’re in pretty good shape.”
The damaged areas to the stadium including awnings that have been ripped down, some ceiling tiles above that need to be replaced and other minor damage. The scoreboard and the lights appear to be in good condition, which makes it easy to believe that things will be OK when San Antonio comes to town.
“The stadium in Corpus has suffered mainly wind damage to signage and the concourse. The power is back up, fire security, Internet, all of that” Hooks owner Reid Ryan said, before noting the staff had preparations in place before the hurricane hit.
“The staff is very accustomed to this, and it’s basically sandbagging the halls, the clubhouses and putting everything up on cinderblocks to get things at risk of flooding away from ground level. . . . We also take anything that could blow away—wind screens, signage, cages—you secure all that underneath the stadium and chain it down. You bolt all the suite levels and you sandbag every door because the wind blows so hard that the rain blows right under the door.”
San Antonio won the South Division title in the first half, and Corpus Christi is 2 1/2 games behind Midland for the division’s second playoff spot. From a baseball standpoint, the Hooks would love the chance to have as many home games as possible down the stretch.
The first game of the Hooks’ final homestand isn’t slated to be played until Sunday, and the league anticipates things should in good-enough shape at the stadium by then for baseball to be played as scheduled. There have been no contingency plans made for alternate sites.
“Not at this point,” Purpura said. “This is Tuesday, and we’ve got several days before we actually have to open the gates, but not at this stage. We’re testing everything there, trying to get all the systems up and running and so far, so good.”
More Teams Pitch In For Harvey Relief
On Monday, a handful of minor league teams announced their plans to help contribute to the relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. On Tuesday, even more teams joined.
The Trenton Thunder announced, through their Grand Slam We Care fund, a contribution to the ongoing relief efforts.
“I’m sure that throughout the 24 years of Thunder baseball we’ve had players, coaches, staff or fans that have visited or were raised in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey,” Thunder general manager Jeff Hurley said. “It’s heartbreaking to see so many people displaced from their homes, lose all of their belongings and we want to provide relief to those in their time of need.”
Thunder fans have two ways to donate. When buying tickets online, they can choose to direct a donation to the Hurricane Harvey relief fund. Additionally, they can simply come to the team’s box office at Arm & Hammer Park and make a donation without buying tickets. Those fans going to the team’s games on Saturday and Sunday can also purchase wristbands for $3 that will allow them to watch the evening’s fireworks displays from the field. All wristband proceeds will also be directed toward the relief fund.
The Charleston RiverDogs are also finding a way to pitch in. The team will hold raffles for team-signed memorabilia over the course of its final homestand, which begins Tuesday. The proceeds from the raffles will go to the MiLB Charities Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. There will also be donation jars set up at Joseph P. Riley Stadium throughout the homestand.
"We are proud to take part in MiLB's efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey," RiverDogs general manager Dave Echols said. "South Carolina has seen firsthand the damage that severe flooding can bring, and we are asking Charlestonians to come together and support this initiative as we get set to wrap up our season."
MiLB Charities will match the fans’ donations and raffle proceeds up to $10,000.