For the few hours he's at the ballpark each day, Ron Washington forgets about the devastation and chaos in his native New Orleans.
After he's home, it consumes Oakland's beloved third base coach.
Washington's wife, Gerry, and 25 other family members got out and are safe in an Alabama shelter. They're in the process of moving into three temporary houses together, where they will try to establish some semblance of normalcy a week after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc across the Gulf Coast.
Washington will leave the team late tonight and spend three days in Alabama with his family, working to get them settled while also trying to learn more about the state of their homes.
"I'm one of those guys who believes you don't try to worry about things you can't control," said Washington, who will rejoin the Athletics in Arlington, Tex., on Friday for a weekend series against the Rangers. "But the more I watch it on TV, my heart begins to go out to the very poor people who are in New Orleans and don't have anything."
Yankees slugger Jason Giambi, a former member of the Athletics who worked with Washington in the Oakland farm system, gave $20,000 to Washington to help his family recover.
Yankees Manager Joe Torre wasn't surprised by Giambi's kind gesture.
"Nothing surprises me with Jason," the skipper said. "He's a very generous individual who cares for people a great deal."
Washington is already vowing to return to New Orleans after the season to see everything for himself and help clean up the city. He will move his family out of Alabama and into apartments as close to New Orleans as they can get.
As one of 10 children in a family that didn't have a car until he was in high school, Washington remembers the terrifying days as a boy of "hunkering down" in one room to ride out powerful storms. "The only time I have a peace of mind is when I'm at the ballpark," Washington said. "When I leave, I struggle with it again."
* ANGELIC PERFORMANCES: Los Angeles OF Vladimir Guerrero's last five homers have come against the Mariners, and nine of his 20 hits against them this season are homers. . . . RHP Bartolo Colon is 10-1 when pitching after an Angels loss.
* MAKEUP MANEUVERING: The White Sox, who opened September with a four-game sweep of the visiting Tigers after going 12-16 in August, will play a makeup game in Boston today before returning home to finish their homestand, tomorrow through Sunday, against the Royals and Angels. The White Sox will leave all of their starting pitchers in Chicago except for rookie Brandon McCarthy, who will get the start.
-- From News Services