When Hurricane Harvey moved into the city of Houston, the University of Houston’s football team relocated out of town and the city’s MLB team, the Houston Astros, moved their series with the Texas Rangers to Tampa, Florida. Both Houston Cougars Head Coach Major Applewhite and Astros Manager A.J. Hinch joined The Jim Rome Show Wednesday.
Applewhite explained for those who have never dealt with or been around a natural disaster such as Harvey how it can cause destruction in layers.
“There’s the initial ‘oh my gosh, I’m watching TV, look how much water, oh my gosh it’s up to the net of the basketball goal.’ There’s that initial shock,” Applewhite said. “You see all these monuments across town or these things that you know and wow, look how high the water is. Than you start realizing some of the things you just simply take for granted, like your water being on, your power being on, being able to drive down the street and get gas, or to get some milk. No you can’t there is no gas station open, there is no grocery store open, there is no power to keep those things open. You can’t drive your car around a bunch, because you will run out of gas. So there’s all those things. So instead of the shock, you start dealing with the reality of it.”
Living in Houston, Hinch said you come accustomed to flooding, but never prepared for anything like Harvey.
“Naturally, it floods just by where we are at, and how it’s built and the bayous, so there’s always a little bit of flooding here,” Hinch said. “When you get these nasty storms, sometimes it can almost make you too comfortable that you are use to some of the flooding, and then the big hurricane comes, and you always think you are fine and you never really believe that something like this is going to happen, and then all of the sudden, you see the devastation and you’ve got people in boats that are trying to rescue people off rooftops. It almost seems, it’s very surreal it’s unbelievable to think where this water could come from and where it could sit, and so many houses that are just gone and so I think the tragedy is we hope that everybody adhered to escaped, you hope people respected these storms when they come in, but in reality there’s nothing you can do to make it stop unless you get out of there.
“Again, we were lucky enough to be out of here. There were a lot of people that are suffering through some long days and some tough times.
The 39-year-old Applewhite also touched on Hinch’s point of never realizing just how close you are to something as dangerous as Harvey.
“Having been in hurricanes growing up in south Louisiana, sometimes they blow by and a little bit of rain and you think ahh, not a big deal, and kind of create this survivor’s bias in your mind that hey, I survived that hurricane, it’s not going to be a big deal, so I’ll stay put through the next one,” Applewhite said. “And then one does hit and it is a tragedy and then it is difficult, and then you do realize, like I said, there’s layers, it takes time. It’s not a 2 to 3 day process, it’s not a 2 to 3 week process, sometimes its 2 to 3 years to get a city back up on its feet again.”
Like Applewhite, as the leader of a team, Hinch knew right away where priorities lie when something like Hurricane Harvey hits.
“It’s ridicules to talk about baseball, and worry about our travel and how the Astros are doing and what this season entails or what’s it going to do to our play, because that is secondary,” Hinch said. “These guys have their wife’s and their kids, their family members, and a lot of them had left, but some of them were left behind. And whether they’re surrounded by water or whether they are stuck in their apartments, we couldn’t get to them in order to get them out of their after the Anaheim series.
“These guys are checking their phones, checking The Weather Channel. We’ve been able to play a couple games here and there, but I really encourage our players to be themselves and take care of their business. And then obviously, athletes can somehow flip a switch and get to the game and spend those three hours competing, then immediately go right back to The Weather Channel and go right back to texting and FaceTiming to make sure no one is in trouble.”
Although Hurricane Harvey will do its damage, Applewhite said Houston is a strong community that will rally back.
“The good thing is our city is very prideful,” Applewhite said. “There’s a lot of hard workers in the city. Houston’s the fourth largest city in the country and the amount of passion for our city, diversity in our city, there’s a lot of people who are wearing their guts out right now for each other, and I think our players are ready to get back when it’s safe and lend a hand.”