Rangers helping tornado recovery effort
ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington knows exactly what many residents near Rangers Ballpark are going through after a series of tornadoes ripped through the area Tuesday.
Washington's home in New Orleans was ravaged to the studs by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, giving him some insight into the aftermath of Tuesday's destruction.
At least 14 confirmed tornadoes damaged or demolished hundreds of homes in Arlington, neighboring Kennedale and other parts of Dallas-Fort Worth.
"There's nothing you can do about it but recover. Anything else will set you back," Washington said. "You've just got to think about recovering. Be strong and do what you've got to do. You'll find out there will be more help there than you ever could imagine."
The Rangers are doing their best to help. The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, the team's community outreach organization, has made a financial contribution to the recovery effort.
Proceeds from a silent auction at the club's annual Welcome Home Luncheon were also donated to the relief effort, as were proceeds from the Foundation's prize wheel at Friday's season opener.
Opening Day has been a symbol of hope for generations of baseball fans. Under sunny skies and 75-degree temperatures Friday, in stark contrast to Tuesday's storms and devastation, the Rangers hoped this year's Opening Day could take on even greater meaning.
"When you have a day like Tuesday, you hope that having a game, an Opening Day, is a diversion for them," Rangers CEO and president Nolan Ryan said of the tornado victims. "It takes time and people have to deal with that and pick their lives up and move forward. I think things like ballgames become even more important at times."
The day before the opener, Texas governor Rick Perry declared Dallas, Tarrant and Kaufman Counties disaster areas.
As Washington can attest, rebuilding homes and lives is ongoing process.
"I'm still recovering," Washington said. "But I'm strong."
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire