Eight days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Texas, the Houston Astros played its first post-Harvey home game at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Saturday.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch gave a short speech and welcomed the city back to its home stadium, before Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner threw the first pitch.
“It’s a very special day to start the re-build process of our great city,” he said.
“We want to thank everyone in the city of Houston that’s doing something good for somebody else. We’re all very fortunate to survive this hurricane. For those that weren’t, our thoughts and prayers are with your families.”
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The Astros were due to play the New York Mets in a double-header Saturday, after the Astros organization asked the Mets if Friday’s game could be postponed so that both teams could volunteer as part of the relief efforts in Houston. Hinch thanked the Mets for “giving them a day off” in his speech.
Earlier this week, the Astros’ cross-state rivals, the Texas Rangers, took heat on social media for refusing to swap home series with the Astros so as to allow the team to recover a series of home games unable to be played in Houston at a later date. The teams were scheduled to play a three-game series in Houston on Tuesday. The series was instead moved to St. Petersburg, Florida.
Harvey dumped nearly 52 inches of rain at one location in Cedar Bayou, about 30 miles east of downtown Houston, the National Weather Service said. The rainfall total broke a record for the continental United States set in 1978.
At least 41 deaths have been reported, and officials expect the toll to rise. More than 30,000 people have fled to shelters as dangerous flooding slowly recedes.