It’s been almost two weeks since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast – primarily New Jersey and New York – and it seems that the media have mostly moved on to other things. However, in addition to the many neighborhoods and homes destroyed or severely damaged, at least 120,000 homes are still without power. Sure, it’s down from 8 million, but still.
What does that have to do with baseball sociology? A lot, actually. As with the D.C. earthquake last year, the first thing I thought of was my loved ones: my family, friends, and baseball stadiums. However, the storm didn’t really affect me personally. There was no major impact on my family or Prince George’s County Stadium. The Baysox were closed for a day or so, but they were fine. And I know only one person who lives in New York – and not all that well. (She’s a 100-year old lady, and she went to a friend’s house to weather the storm. She’s fine.)
So, needing to find a way to connect, I began counting the teams in the hurricane-affected areas. I focused on the baseball towns near New York City and New Jersey. There are the obvious ones – the Yankees and the Mets. They seemed to be ok. Next, I thought of the teams that play against my beloved Bowie Baysox and the Delmarva Shorebirds. No reports of bad things happening to Trenton’s Waterfront Park or Lakewood’s FirstEnergy Park in New Jersey. But then I heard the news that Staten Island was hit badly. I wondered, how did the Staten Island Yankees fare? What about the BrooklynCyclones?
Other teams in harm’s way in New York and New Jersey were: the Hudson valley Renegades (NY-Penn League); the Camden Riversharks, Long Island Ducks, and Somerset Patriots (of the independent Atlantic League); and the Newark Bears, New Jersey Jackals, and Rockland Boulders (of the Canadian-American League). But there was little news about them.
Yes, there are other, more important things – like people – to worry about. But humans need a way to connect to what’s going on. For me, I needed to envision the places in the affected areas that I’d visited or at least heard of. In the face of tragedy we all wonder what we can do to help, but many of us remain detached as we watch in horror as the news.
Then, the New York Yankees stepped up to the plate and donated $500,000 to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Soon, MLB and the MLB Player’s Association joined in, donating $1 million. The Mets made a donation to the New York Daily News disaster fund. Other baseball efforts include:
- The Yankees held a blood drive on November 2.
- CC Sabathia helped repaint the Hoboken Boys and Girls Club.
- The Baltimore Orioles collected donations at the stadium to be sent to New Jersey communities affected by the storm.
- Robinson Cano and John Franco appeared at an event to raise money for the relief efforts.
- The Mets will hold a food drive on November 14.
There are others helping as well, including: the NFL and the NFLPA; the Minnesota Vikings; Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake, and Timbaland; and Rihanna. I’m sure there are many, many more. What these teams, leagues, and stars have done is given us something to connect with as we struggle to make sense of the disaster that has affected our own country. (And let’s not forget the other areas affected as well.)