Matt Carpenter to donate $10,000 for every home run to hurricane Harvey relief

St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS, MO — Infielder Matt Carpenter is doing something very generous for victims of hurricane Harvey. He will donate $10,000 for every home run he hits to help relief efforts in Houston.

The St. Louis Cardinal made the announcement in a series of tweets, “My wife and I called the Houston area home for most of our lives and our hearts are hurting for those families affected by hurricane Harvey. From now till the rest of the season we will donate $10,000 for every home run I hit to help aid the relief efforts in Houston. If you’re looking to donate check this out. If you’re a MLB pitcher, throw balls down the middle.”

A difficult, years-long recovery likely lies ahead for Houston after Tropical Storm Harvey tore through the nation’s fourth-largest city this weekend, swelling bayous and stranding residents on rooftops.

The storm dumped more than 24 inches of rain on the city over a 24-hour period. Rising flood waters have prevented rescue teams from reaching some areas — and the water is not yet done rising.

The full extent of the devastation was still unknown on Sunday as darkness fell. Tens of thousands of people have called 911 for help, forcing Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to ask emergency responders to give preference to those in immediate life-threatening situations.

Harvey will linger over Houston for the next four to five days, said CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen, who labeled Harvey a “one-in-1,000-years-type of event.” The National Weather Service forecasts another 27 inches of rainfall in the Houston area over that time.

Those heavy rains, coupled with the overflowing of Houston’s bayous, could make water levels surge to about 50 inches in some areas over the next few days, the National Weather Service said.

“Inland flooding from hurricanes is the deadliest part, more than wind and surge,” Hennen said.

The rain and winds from Harvey also hit coastal communities like Rockport, where callers to the local emergency dispatch line told of walls and roofs collapsing on people across the city. Off shore, thousands of passengers on several Carnival cruise ships were stranded and unable to return to the port city of Galveston.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is expecting the damage from the storm to keep FEMA personnel there for years after the flood waters recede, the agency’s director, Brock Long, told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

While the storm has drawn comparisons to Hurricane Katrina, Long said that Harvey is unique in the way it poses a days-long threat.

“This is a storm that the United States has not seen yet,” Long said.

Some Houston residents drew their own comparisons to another natural disaster: Allison, the storm that struck the Texas coast in June 2001 and killed 23 people in the state.

“Allison was bad … really bad,” Pat Napolio, who lived through Allison, told CNN. “But if (the water) creeps up any more, Harvey will surpass Allison.”

“This is a storm that is testing the city of Houston,” Mayor Sylvester Turner told reporters Sunday. “The city will rise to the occasion.”

Many rode out the storm in the city

As Harvey approached on Friday, Turner discouraged residents of the city from evacuating. “Please think twice before trying to leave Houston en masse,” he said on Twitter. “No evacuation orders have been issued for the city.”

He cited the chaotic conditions created when millions of residents in coastal communities and the Houston area tried to leave the city before Hurricane Rita hit in 2005. During that evacuation, roads out of the area were gridlocked. Some cars ran out of gas. Ten people died of heat exposure while trying to evacuate, the Texas Tribune reported. And at least 24 people died when a bus carrying elderly evacuees from a nursing home near Houston caught fire and exploded.

Harvey blasted ashore late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane, first walloping the Texas islands and coastal cities like such as Galveston and Corpus Christi.

The hurricane brought extreme winds and deadly storm surges, ripping apart homes. Once ashore, Harvey lost speed and transformed into a tropical storm that dumped more than 15 to 30 inches of rain across southeastern Texas.

The slow-moving storm crept further inland and settled over Houston.

On Sunday, Turner defended his decision not to order evacuations. The city, which is flat and particularly vulnerable to flooding, was never put under an evacuation order — voluntary or mandatory — even as then-Hurricane Harvey headed for a landfall.

“You literally cannot put 6.5 million people on the road,” Turner said. “If you think the situation right now is bad, you give an order to evacuate, you are creating a nightmare.”

Since many stayed, the city is wrestling with an enormous task of sheltering displaced residents, sending them to centralized locations that Turner calls “lily pads.”

Officials have closed Houston schools for the week and shuttered William P. Hobby Airport until at least the middle of the week. Southwest Airlines airlifted around 500 of its customers out of Hobby Airport Sunday, according to airline and US government sources with knowledge of the operation.

In nearby Dallas, officials there are preparing to house up to 5,000 Harvey evacuees in the city’s Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center.

‘The water keeps rising’

Houston residents awoke Sunday to flooded streets and homes, and submerged cars. Some waded through knee-deep water.

“The water keeps rising,” Janet Castillo, who was trapped at home with little children as the water crept up to their knees, told CNN. “We have called already to several numbers but no luck.”

Her husband, Luis, posted a video on Facebook of the water collecting in their home.

“Send some boats over here,” he could be heard saying.

Rey Güatzin told CNN Sunday the water was rising in his Houston home throughout the night.

“It’s scary,” Güatzin said. “I’ve been through many storms in my city, but it has never been this terrible. This city is completely underwater.”

Jake Lewis, who was in Houston on business, said he woke up to ankle-deep water in his Houston hotel room.

“We have nowhere to go,” said Lewis, of New Braunfels, Texas. “I have a 2016 Chevy Silverado and the water is up to the door panels. The water keeps rising.”

Two fatalities in Texas so far

Two people have been confirmed dead in Texas so far, though the death toll is expected rise.

In Houston, a woman drowned after she drove her vehicle into high water, police said. She got out of her vehicle when her car either became inoperable or the water was too high to pass, and the floodwaters swallowed her.

A second death was confirmed in hard-hit Rockport, where a person died in a house fire during the storm, Aransas County Judge Burt Mills said on Saturday. The death toll is expected to rise in Rockport, too, where about 5,000 residents rode out the storm, Aransas County Sheriff Bill Mills said.

Neither victim’s identity has been released.

Rockport resident: ‘We lost everything’

National Guard and ‘Cajun Navy’ to the rescue

Around 3,000 National Guard and Texas State Guard members were heading toward the affected areas, along with 500 vehicles and 14 aircraft, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said.

More than 400 other rescue personnel who were already in south Texas before the storm began were at work, according to FEMA and the Coast Guard.

Teams from states including Arizona, California, Florida, New York and Virginia were expected to be deployed to the region over the weekend to perform water rescues.

And from Louisiana, the “Cajun Navy,” a battalion of citizen boat owners, headed to the region on Sunday, Louisiana’s Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser tweeted.

President Donald Trump was also excepted to travel to Texas on Tuesday, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. Sources tell CNN the final locations are not set, but the President is expected to avoid the most hard-hit areas, like flood-ravaged Houston.

About the St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals are one of Major League Baseball’s iconic franchises. The team with the “Birds on the Bat” have won more World Series titles than any other National League club, and are second only to the New York Yankees overall.

St. Louis has been home to a National League franchise since 1892, but the franchise wasn’t known as the Cardinals until 1900.

Behind future Hall of Fame second baseman Rogers Hornsby, the Cardinals won their first World Series in 1926 over the Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig Yankees. The ‘Gashouse Gang’ era Cardinals dominated the 1930s thanks to Dizzy Dean, Johnny Mize and Joe Medwick and won the 1934 World Series.

Did you know that Branch Rickey, who would later rise to fame for bringing Jackie Robinson to the Major Leagues and breaking baseball’s color barrier, invented the minor league farm system we know today with the St. Louis Cardinals? It was Rickey who built a system of affiliate teams to grow talent that would later shine in St. Louis. In the 1930s and 1940s, that system produced the likes of future Hall of Famers Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst and Enos Slaughter, all of whom won World Series championships for the Cardinals.

The Musial-era Cardinals would later give way to a new generation, and it was Bob Gibson and Lou Brock who helped bring the World Series back to St. Louis in the 1960s. Gibson had one of the most dominant seasons in baseball history in 1968. He was so good baseball lowered the mound the following year.

The 1970s saw the end of the Gibson and Brock years, the trade of Steve Carlton to Philadelphia and the arrival of Keith Hernandez. Hernandez would share the 1979 NL MVP award with Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell.

For the Cardinals, the 1980s could be summed up in a single word: Whiteyball. Behind Manager Whitey Herzog, baseball in St. Louis became synonymous with speed, stolen bases and defense. Shortstop Ozzie Smith was acquired from San Diego, and with Hernandez, second baseman Tommy Herr, a rookie outfielder named Willie McGee and closer Bruce Sutter, the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series over the Milwaukee Brewers. After Hernandez would dealt to the New York Mets, that core of players, along with slugger Jack Clark, would get the Cardinals to two more World Series trips that decade.

The 1980s saw the end of the Gussie Busch ownership era for the Cardinals. When he died in 1989, the Anheuser-Busch brewery took over after nearly 40 years under his watch.

In 1996 the brewery sold the club to the ownership group still led today by Bill DeWitt, Jr. The DeWitt family brought in former Oakland A’s manager Tony LaRussa, who would go on to be the winningest manager in team history. With another former Oakland hand running the front office in Walt Jocketty, the team acquired Mark McGwire from the A’s in 1997. The slugging first baseman would break Roger Maris’ single-season record for Home Runs in 1998 in a chase with Sammy Sosa that captivated the nation, only later to be tainted by the use of performance-enhancing drugs that McGwire admitted to years later.

In 2001, a young rookie named Albert Pujols burst on the St. Louis scene. Playing all over the field, he was the runaway winner of the National League MVP, setting the stage for the most dominant decade of offensive performance ever seen in a player’s first ten years in Major League Baseball. Catcher Yadier Molina came on board in 2004 as the Cardinals made their first World Series appearance since 1987. Two years later, a rookie pitcher named Adam Wainwright would fill in as the closer on a club that won its first World Series since 1982.

The Cardinals’ third World Series appearance in eight seasons may have been the most improbable when it came in 2011. A team that was left for dead at the start of September managed to roar into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season behind the pitching heroics of Chris Carpenter down the stretch. Once in the playoffs, the legend of David Freese was born. Freese, a St. Louis County native, won the National League Championship Series MVP by slugging three home runs against Milwaukee. Then in the World Series against Texas, down to the team’s last strike in what would have been a Rangers clincher, a Freese triple tied the game. A Freese home run in extra innings forced a Game 7, which the Cardinals won, bringing an 11th World Series crown home.

Albert Pujols left via free agency in the offseason and LaRussa retired, but the Cardinals kept moving forward, reaching the 2013 World Series against the Boston Red Sox with former catcher Mike Matheny now managing the club. In some respects, the Cardinals are still recovering from what happened October 26, 2014, when outfielder Oscar Taveras, considered a potentially generational talent who could have become the face of the franchise, died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.

The Matheny era would last 6.5 seasons, until he was replaced by current manager Mike Shildt in 2018.

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