The images and reports coming over the television and smart-phone screens in clubhouses around Major League Baseball and homes all over the United States are horrifying, just as they were a week earlier.Hurricane Maria was barreling through the Caribbean, much like Irma did. But while Irma merely skirted past Puerto
The images and reports coming over the television and smart-phone screens in clubhouses around Major League Baseball and homes all over the United States are horrifying, just as they were a week earlier.
Hurricane Maria was barreling through the Caribbean, much like Irma did. But while Irma merely skirted past Puerto Rico while devastating smaller and less populated islands, Maria landed a direct hit on Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Reports surfaced of the entire island being without power and water, and there being extensive damage.
Puerto Rico has a long and storied baseball history, with legions of star players from the island always prominent in Major League lineups. It was impossible for those proud natives to not have the well-being of their families, friends and homeland on their minds as they readied for their baseball games on Wednesday.
Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, one of the most well-known Puerto Rican players in the Majors today, watched the news alongside teammates Carlos Beltran and Juan Centeno plus bench coach Alex Cora and coach Alex Cintron. Correa said he spoke with one of his grandmothers in the morning and she said she could see the water rising and debris being blown through the air by the 150-mph wins. He said he had not had contact with her since that conversation.
"You get worried because you know it's really bad, and you hear from the news and from people how bad it's getting," Correa said. "My grandma's house is really close to the river and most likely will get flooded. Just waiting to hear word from her and see how things are going."
"Hopefully when this all goes by and everything, it goes back to a little bit more normal and I can fly them over here so they can have a house and power, and be able to eat."
Anxiety and prayers for Puerto Rico permeated through Major League stadiums on Wednesday.
In Anaheim, Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor said he had spoken to his cousins, but he was waiting to hear from his brother.
"They told me that the surroundings look bad, but the houses are OK," Lindor said. "Everything around them is very bad. It's sad, but hopefully they can get back on their feet soon."
Lindor's Puerto Rican teammate, Roberto Perez, had not heard from his family yet.
"They were staying with my aunt, and it's a concrete house, so they should be good," Perez said. "I'm just worried about our house. I think where I live it's a lot of flooding and a lot of rain. Even if it's not a hurricane, if it rains, there can be flooding."
Both players said they would return to Puerto Rico and help with rebuilding as soon as their seasons concluded.
"I can't wait," Lindor said. "I've got to help. I've got to find a way to help people. There's no way I can sit here and just not do anything."
Over in the Angels' clubhouse, catcher Martin Maldonado also was waiting to hear from family members, who are in Naguabo, a town on the east coast of Puerto Rico. So Maldonado did what he could do. He monitored the updates on the storm and wore the Team Puerto Rico cap from the World Baseball Classic on the field during batting practice, having written "Pray 4" next to the 'PR' logo.
It was a generally helpless feeling for these players, who could only sit and wait until power and cellular service returned to the island, and they could speak to their loved ones and learn about how they and their homes had fared during this historic catastrophe.
The Cubs trio of Javier Baez, Rene Rivera and Victor Caratini was leaning on each other throughout the day.
"Javy has no communication, Victor has no communication," Rivera said. "We're going by whatever we see on social media. It's not good.
"There's nothing we can do. The only thing we can do is pray all the families are safe. The houses will hold. The flooding is the scary part. With the flooding, there's nowhere you can go. We're hoping a cell phone signal comes back and we can get communication. We'll see what happens."
Puerto Rican members of the Minnesota Twins were a bit closer to home while playing the Yankees in New York, and one of them, right-hander Jose Berrios, had to start Tuesday's game. He allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings, and Berrios admitted afterward that he couldn't help thinking about his homeland, although he wouldn't use it as the reason for his short stint on the mound.
"Most of my family is in Minnesota, but there are a lot of people on the island going through it," Berrios said. "My heart goes out to them."
Berrios' teammates from the island, Eddie Rosario and Kennys Vargas, were equally concerned. Rosario's helmet read "Fuerza Puerto Rico," meaning the island should stay strong.
"It's tough," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I know it's heavy in their hearts and minds."
In the Texas Rangers' clubhouse, hope mixed with fear for the worst abounded among Puerto Rican players.
Reliever Alex Claudio, catcher A.J. Jimenez and first-base coach Hector Ortiz had spoken to various family members early, before the storm hit land, but not again by the time they were readying for their game against the Mariners at Safeco Field.
"Just one text or phone call would mean so much right now," Jimenez said.
"I have seen everything on social media. But what hurts most is, I don't know if they are OK, or if they need something. I want to be there with them to see if everything is OK."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.