CLEVELAND (WJW) – Some Major League Baseball players are chasing their post-season dreams while thinking about the nightmare happening back home.
Wednesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays were in Cleveland for a three-game series against the Guardians.
The Rays arrived Monday, shortly before Hurricane Ian was predicted to come ashore south of the Tampa area.
Many of the players are not originally from Tampa Bay, but those who have family there had them evacuate before the storm hit.
“Thankfully, we got my family out on Sunday, so that’s when we didn’t know how bad it was going to be, but I know there’s a lot of people hunkering down, so obviously we’re just hoping for their safety and the damage is minimal,” said Rays relief pitcher, Jason Adam.
Adam said evacuating his family and knowing they are safe will help him concentrate on the game.
“There’s no way I could have focused on the game if they were sitting there, power out in Tampa, but just because my family’s involved doesn’t mean it’s not tragic to all the people that are there,” Adam said.
“It certainly feels like a more impactful storm that’s covering our spring training area right now and there are a lot of families, not just Rays families, but just the entire Florida community that is just going through it right now,” said Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash.
Cash says the players are focusing all they can on baseball, but they are also staying up to date on what’s happening back home in Florida.
“You’re just concerned. Generally, we’re in there kidding around, watching MLB network. Every TV in there has been on the Weather Channel,” said Cash.
“Seminole, Florida, which is a suburb, it’s north of St. Pete and west of Tampa, so it’s right on the ocean. We live about two miles from the ocean,” said Scott Kuzminski.
Kuzminski and his son Bodie attended several home games in Tampa last week, and when there was talk of possible evacuations, they decided to drive to Cleveland.
“It looks like it hit a little bit south, so my wife just sent me some pictures. Fort Myers got the storm surge, it’s really bad,” he said. “This is our evacuation, we’re going to watch baseball in Cleveland.”
“Our thoughts, our prayers go out to everybody affected by it. Obviously it’s a big storm, but hopefully it works out for the best,” said Adam.
The rest of the Rays’ regular season games are on the road, and it is possible that the team could be coming back to Cleveland to play the Guardians in the first round of the playoffs.
That means they may not be going back home to Florida until mid-October.