Matt Albers’s family lives in Houston. After he pitched a scoreless inning in last Thursday’s win over the Astros, a huge group of family members greeted him with whoops and hollers outside the visitor’s clubhouse at Minute Maid Park. His young son leaped into his arms, eyes aglow. Shortly thereafter, Albers had to get on a plane and fly away from them, knowing full well that a historic storm was on its way. Albers cannot be there to help them through Hurricane Harvey. His wife is eight months pregnant.
“You kind of feel helpless up here playing the game,” Albers said. “It kind of puts it in perspective a little bit.”
Sunday night, right before the game in which he would make his second appearance of the day, Albers got a text that his subdivision of The Woodlands, Tex., might soon be affected by the floods. His wife evacuated to Dallas on Monday morning, while Albers agonized from afar.
“It’s been pretty crazy to see the devastation. It’s pretty sad honestly,” Albers said. “My parents are there, too. They’re pretty close to the Brazos River in Sugarland, so their area has had some voluntary evacuations … just seeing all that, dealing with all that, it’s kind of surreal and heartbreaking.”
Albers, by the way, threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings over two appearances Sunday.
A few lockers down, a few moments before Albers shared his Houston story, Anthony Rendon talked about his.
“I called my parents this morning, and it’s just frustrating just hearing the voice from my mom and from my dad and my brother. Just knowing that you can’t be down there, it actually hit me this morning just because they were saying the water is creeping up to their garage now. They got a lot of land. So, it has to cover the land first before it hits their house,” Rendon said.
“It’s tough just to know they’re not in the flood zone and they live out in the middle of nowhere so how the heck can the water reach over there? The fact that even if you’re not in the flood zone in Houston, and you are going to get affected just because they’re not used to that much rain falling. At one point, is was six inches per hour. It’s been going on for a few days, so do the math on that.”
Rendon grew up in Houston, played his college ball there at Rice and has been outspoken about his allegiance to the Houston Rockets over the course of his career. This weekend, when players were allowed to wear brightly decorated shoes for Players Weekend, Rendon wore shoes that featured the Houston skyline. He had asked Under Armour to make those for that weekend long before Harvey.
“I always represent my home town. I think it just happened to go hand-in-hand when the hurricane hit and actually ended up meaning more than what it was meant to be,” Rendon said. “I’m not sure if I will wear them tonight. One, they are just cleats, and then two, you never know MLB might be sticklers and try to fine me.”
Whether he wears the cleats, Rendon will be back in action Monday night, his fourth game in three days as Harvey hits his home town.
“People say when you are out there on the field you’re free,” Rendon said. “So that’s what I’m trying to think of.”
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