CLEVELAND — Rays officials are in the process of assessing the extent of the damage to their Port Charlotte training facility in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
Some was obvious from the outside.
Metal roofing wrapped around leaning palm trees. Letters were missing off of the welcoming Home Plate main fan entrance. Fences hovered feet off the ground. Tattered fabric covered the playground mulch.
A worker said there was damage inside the buildings, too, with water damage to one of the roofs leading to electrical issues and a humid smell inside.
About 15 team employees live in the Port Charlotte area. All were said to be accounted for, though some were dealing with damage to their homes.
Manager Kevin Cash said team officials continue to monitor the situation.
“Quite a bit, obviously,” he said from Cleveland, where the Rays wrapped up a series against the Guardians. “I think just from the news St. Pete and the (Tampa) Bay area did okay, but our friends and family and co-workers maybe in Port Charlotte, North Port, Fort Myers, not so much. So want to send some well wishes to them that we’re thinking about them and know that it’s a pretty trying time.”
Pitcher Drew Rasmussen said it has been a major topic in the clubhouse.
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who’s been affected by Hurricane Ian and the disaster and destruction that has been brought along with it so far and what’s left to come of it and from it,” he said.
“It’s brought a lot of stress into our lives. We’ve all got families and friends and so many more people, and countless lives, that affect us day in day out and that are in the area.
“Hopefully everyone was just able to stay safe and dry, if possible,” Rasmussen continued. “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of work ahead. But hopefully we can kind of get through this as a state, as a community, as group, and move forward and build from it and get better, because it’s sad. It’s devastating. And I just don’t think there’s really any other way to put it.”
• The Guardians made a pregame acknowledgement Thursday, announcing they “would like to extend our thoughts and well wishes to Tampa Bay’s staff, family and friends, along with everyone that is currently being impacted and recovering from Hurricane Ian.”
• The Astros will donate the proceeds from their in-stadium Share2Care 50/50 from the weekend games against the Rays to hurricane relief efforts.
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• With the storm passing, WDAE radio (620-AM, 95.3-FM) resumed regular Rays coverage on Thursday. That includes full Rays programming Sunday afternoon, since pregame Bucs coverage will start later.
Marc Topkin reported from Cleveland. Colleen Wright reported from Port Charlotte.
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