(Reuters) - A World Series title would not heal the wounds of a city still coping with the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey but the Houston Astros’ run to the Fall Classic has given the city something to rally around.
The Astros will open the World Series on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday, almost exactly two months after Hurricane Harvey, the strongest hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, made landfall.
“There’s a lot of people that are really hurting right now in this city,” said Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander, who was named the most valuable player of the American League Championship Series after a pair of dominant starts.
“And (reaching the World Series) gives the city something to rally around and gives people something to cheer for that otherwise may not have a lot to be hopeful for.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which brought devastating wind and flooding to parts of Houston, the Astros have worn a simple patch on their uniform as a reminder of what the city lost.
The patch sits on the upper left side of their chests and features the word “STRONG” in white block letters between an Astros’ logo and a rendering of the state of Texas.
Verlander has already said he would donate $100,000 and his postseason share to the “Hurricane Harvey Patriot Grant Program” that will help those families impacted by Harvey.
The longtime Detroit Tigers pitcher, who joined the Astros days after Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the hopes of chasing an elusive World Series ring, said he has enjoyed being part of a team that for some has provided a boost.
“To be part of that, no matter how big or small it is, whether you’re the MVP or whether you are the last pitcher in the bullpen, that’s something that you will never forget, and how this city embraces all of that, I’ll never forget,” said Verlander.
“And I‘m so grateful for my time back then. And I think it gives me a different sense of what’s going on here and now.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Gene Cherry