CHARACTER COUNTS

Astros and Mets use day off in Houston to volunteer after Harvey

Sep 3, 2017, 6:00 AM
A "Houston Strong" patch is worn on the jersey of Houston Astros' Carlos Correa before the first ga...
A "Houston Strong" patch is worn on the jersey of Houston Astros' Carlos Correa before the first game of a baseball doubleheader against the New York Mets, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
(AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

The Houston Astros were back in their home ballpark for the first time since Hurricane Harvey on Saturday, playing a doubleheader after the teams took Friday off.

But the off-day on Friday wasn’t for rest and relaxation.

Earlier in the week, the Astros’ scheduled home series against the Texas Rangers had to be moved to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The AL’s top team came back home on Friday, but the three-game series with the Mets began Saturday with a doubleheader, because of the storm.

“Hello Houston, it’s good to be home,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said in a pre-game speech, speaking into a microphone in front of the crowd at Minute Maid Park.

Hinch, who formerly managed the Diamondbacks, thanked the fans for coming, commended first responders and offered condolences to the families of the deadly storm’s victims.

“To the Mets, I’d like to thank you for allowing us to have a day off yesterday for a day of service,” Hinch continued. “Not only did they give us a day off, they were out in the communities doing things for a city they rarely come to. And for that, we’re forever grateful.”

Hurricane Harvey is blamed for at least 44 deaths as of Saturday.

The Astros wore patches on the upper left side of their jerseys Saturday with the team logo and the word “STRONG” in block letters as a tribute to those affected by the storm. As George Springer approached home plate after hitting a two-run homer in the second inning of Game 1, he pounded the patch three times with his right fist and pointed to the fans.

“We know we’re entertainers. That’s what we’re there for,” Astros pitcher Collin McHugh said. “We’re nothing without the fans. We’re nothing without the community so we want to help. We want to be there while the city recovers.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Astros and Mets use day off in Houston to volunteer after Harvey