After having three home games moved to Tropicana Field due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Astros will return to Minute Maid Park on Saturday.
The Astros’ three-game series against the Texas Rangers, which ran from Tuesday-Thursday, was relocated to Tropicana Field–home of the Tampa Bay Rays–earlier this week. When that shift was announced on Monday, it was indicated that the Astros’ upcoming three-game series against the New York Mets may also need to be played at Tropicana Field, but that a final decision would be made later in the week.
As it turns out, the Astros will be returning to Houston and Minute Maid Park. Originally scheduled to begin Friday, the home series against the Mets will now commence with a doubleheader on Saturday, before the series concludes on Sunday. The scheduling change was made in order to give the Astros an off day following Thursday afternoon’s finale against the Rangers.
Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan credited Houston mayor Sylvester Turner, saying that it was his encouragement that helped make the team’s return possible. More from The Houston Chronicle:
“He encouraged us to come back,” Ryan said. “He wants to see people getting back to their lives.”
Turner, at his afternoon storm briefing, said baseball’s return will give the city a chance to focus on something other than the grim details of storm recovery.
“Who would have thought a few years ago that the Houston Astros, a team that has rebuilt itself, would be a contender for” – and then Turner seemed to deliberately correct himself mid-sentence – “will win the World Series.
“Even right now people are questioning whether or not Houston is going to return. What better place to symbolize our ability to overcome our obstacles and our hurdles than the Astros playing? Let’s play ball, let’s lift up our spirits and let’s go forward.”
The Astros will continue to aid in relief and recovery efforts. The team is donating 5,000 tickets for each game to the mayor’s office, which will then give them to evacuees, first responders, and relief volunteers. Fans have also been asked to donate through various channels, including YouCaring.com/AstrosHarvey, or by bringing food donations to Minute Maid Park on Saturday and Sunday. Many other teams around baseball have also stepped up to aid in relief and recovery efforts.
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