Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

MLB, Astros help Boys & Girls Club recover from storm

Team, local officials on hand at Hurricane Harvey relief event
MLB.com @Marathoner

STAFFORD, Texas -- This week marks what the Houston area has waited for: a return of the World Series and the opportunity to show its resilience in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

"We are strong," said Marian Harper, vice president of the Astros Foundation. "We pulled our passion together to be strong and courageous for one another. Our team came back home after games were canceled right after the storm, having to play away in Florida, and we came back here to create a sense of normalcy for the city of Houston. So we are excited to really do something for our fans, to be strong for our fans.

STAFFORD, Texas -- This week marks what the Houston area has waited for: a return of the World Series and the opportunity to show its resilience in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

"We are strong," said Marian Harper, vice president of the Astros Foundation. "We pulled our passion together to be strong and courageous for one another. Our team came back home after games were canceled right after the storm, having to play away in Florida, and we came back here to create a sense of normalcy for the city of Houston. So we are excited to really do something for our fans, to be strong for our fans.

Include - Html: :: World Series presented by YouTube TV: Schedule and coverage ::

"This season has really been a great opportunity for us to help Houston be strong and stay together. Cheer together, so we can win together."

Dress for the World Series: Get Astros postseason gear

That spirit was evident on Thursday afternoon, a travel day during the 113th World Series. In the nearby town of Stafford, Major League Baseball and the Astros hosted a dedication ceremony to unveil renovations made to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston there. Like so many Houston areas, Stafford was greatly affected by Hurricane Harvey in late August.

Improvements included installation of new floors, paint jobs and new supplies for the game and education rooms. The center sustained serious damage, displacing about 200 of its young members. With the help of MLB and the Astros, as well as Fort Bend County, the club is currently operating at 75 percent of its capacity before the storm. It was a thrilling moment when the kids walked through the doors to see their new space.

In addition to Harper, dignitaries at the Harvey relief event included: Tom Brasuell, MLB's vice president of community affairs; Frank Sanchez, national VP of sports, entertainment and alumni development at Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Kevin Hattery, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston; and Grady Prestage, commissioner of Precinct 2 in Fort Bend County.

"It was an unprecedented storm event, more rainfall than ever recorded in the United States in any one event," Prestage said. "So quite naturally, you have an area like Houston that's flat, and flat land doesn't drain. I'm a civil engineer, it doesn't take that kind of degree to know that. The water has to go somewhere. It went in these buildings and structures.

"But Houston is a can-do region, and we're going to rebuild bigger and better. This is a nice renovation we have here, and it wouldn't be possible unless that storm happened, so we find a silver lining in everything that happens. We're going to recover. We're changing lives here. We're protecting kids from things that can happen. It's exciting, it's a good cause."

Video: WS2017 Gm3: Astros on hurricane's impact on WS run

The kids munched on popcorn, played video games, checked out their new technology center and played foosball with the area in the spotlight glare of hosting a World Series. It was #HoustonStrong in action -- or #StaffordStrong, which was on a sign at the renovated facility.

"It's all falling into place," said Harper, who is in her 26th year with the Astros Foundation. "Last night's [game] definitely had ups and downs throughout the evening, but we are coming together. It was a historic experience for the Houston Astros, to have our first World Series win. It was wonderful. We hope to continue for three more wins.

Video: WS2017 Gm3: Darvish on his donation to Houston

"We're very, very excited to have these games at Minute Maid Park. Words can't describe the excitement that is in the city of Houston right now. For us to be home, and win at home, and to celebrate at home."

Hurricane Harvey dropped more than 50 inches of rain on the Houston area, and officials have estimated that more than 136,000 homes and other structures were damaged in Harris County, which includes Houston. It will be months before all of the debris covering many front yards is removed, and there's still plenty to be done in the aftermath. There are still residents that are displaced.

For these kids, it was serious business. They rely on their local Boys & Girls Club as a respite, a place to be safe and happy, and to learn and grow with their peers.

Photo: The children expressed their gratitude to MLB and the Astros. (Alex Trautwig/MLB)

"You're going to find a city united behind this team," Prestage said. "It's really great. There are going to be a lot of causes that come about from this World Series. Some cities see it all the time. For some, it's their second time seeing it; we didn't do so good the last time. We're going to make the best of this thing for the city of Houston and for the game of baseball."

As part of its commitment to supporting communities affected by recent disasters, MLB also held a volunteer packaging event to benefit the victims of the Northern California wildfires prior to Game 2.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.

Houston Astros