For MLB, Irma 'on forefront of our minds'

For MLB, Irma 'on forefront of our minds'

They're glued to the clubhouse TVs when they're not putting in early work. They're texting and calling loved ones in Florida, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and anywhere else in the path of Hurricane Irma.

Sanchez on Hurricane Irma

As Florida Governor Rick Scott pleaded with people on Friday to leave or seek shelter immediately, players on many Major League teams were once again focused on real-life worries that make the game they play for a living seem trivial.

"It's definitely on the forefront of our minds," said Marlins catcher A.J. Ellis, whose team will be on the road in Atlanta over the weekend, where the Braves are offering complimentary tickets for the four-game series to residents from Florida, Georgia and South Carolina counties under evacuation orders.

Lindor thinking of Puerto Rico

"It's definitely something that is dominating a lot of the conversation around our clubhouse, dominating a lot of the conversation with our families. I don't think I've ever been in a clubhouse where throughout the entire place, the Weather Channel is the most popular station in our clubhouse.

"We are spoiled rotten as professional athletes, professional baseball players. Any resource we need is at our disposal. And we will be accommodated and treated in a way that is first class and in a way we don't deserve, especially in light of what our fans and what the people of Miami and South Florida are about to experience, and the people in the Caribbean have already experienced.

"It's tragic, and it's devastating. You can't think of yourself in a moment like this. You have to think about what people who are less fortunate are going to do. And you have to start thinking about what you're going to do to help pick up the pieces when it's over."

Major League Baseball already announced that the Rays' upcoming home series set for Monday through Wednesday vs. the Yankees has been relocated from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg to Citi Field in New York.  

Mattingly on Irma's impact

Teams and players are planning ahead as well. Many of the Marlins, for example, took their families to Atlanta with them. But other players who grew up in Florida and in some of the baseball-rich Caribbean islands were deeply concerned about their families back home.

"I've got some family down there, and they're all riding it out," said Brewers reliever Anthony Swarzak, who is from Fort Lauderdale. "I think that it's not very wise, but at the same time, if I was down there, I would probably ride it out, too. You make sure you've got supplies, and you hold it down."

Swarzak's teammate, Jacob Barnes, is from St. Petersburg, and he was happy to hear that his young daughter was already on the way to Mississippi to stay with family.

"Most of the time, people wait until the last minute to go, or they don't go at all," Barnes said. "Yeah, you might lose power and stuff like that, but it's really not that bad.

"But this one, it's so big that it's like, 'OK, we're going to get hit.'"

Nats players brace for hurricane

It already hit Puerto Rico, where Cubs catcher Rene Rivera is from, but he said his family made it out OK. Teammate Anthony Rizzo also succeeded in getting his family from Florida to Chicago. And manager Joe Maddon, who lives in the Tampa area in the offseason, said that his wife, Jaye, and their pets were hoping to leave Friday night for a long drive north.

"The biggest concern is just gasoline -- how far can a vehicle go?" Maddon said. "I've been in touch with her all day. You just have to take the necessary precautions. … I just want her to get out of there as quickly as she can and start reporting as she gets along the way."

Padres outfielder Jabari Blash is from the island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean, and he said he spent Thursday sweating out the fate of his family while Irma passed through their area.

"They're fine," Blash said. "It's a big relief. I had a big headache most of [Thursday]. Right now, they're just clearing the roads so people can have access to their homes. Where we live, there are just trees and the trees are no longer in the ground. They're all over the roads. They're just clearing the roads so people can start rebuilding."

Florida still must wait, and some players wanted their families based there to leave, but it will not work out the way they'd prefer.

Royals teammates Eric Hosmer and Eric Skoglund both have family in Florida, with Hosmer's mom and dad in Fort Lauderdale and Skoglund's brother in Sarasota. Hosmer said he pleaded with his parents to leave, but they refused.

Girardi on playing at Citi Field

"They got loaded up with supplies, and they're going to ride it out, hunker down," Hosmer said. "I just hope they're OK."

Skoglund said his brother, Jordan, was going to leave, but he said there wasn't enough gas available for him to know he wouldn't get stuck on the highway.

"But he's got plenty of batteries and water," Skoglund said. "Just ride it out."

That was also the plan for the family of Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso, whose family is in Miami.

"They feel like they're going to be OK," Alonso said. "They've been through some hurricanes, but obviously not of this magnitude, so we're just hoping for the best. … Everybody is worried and nervous. We're just praying and hoping for the best. It's tough, but family has been in contact, and they're prepared and ready for it. All we can do now is just pray."

All in all, uncertainty and deep concern ruled around the ballparks of the American and National Leagues on Friday, this on the heels of the devastating recent flooding in Houston and other parts of Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey. MLB and its clubs chipped in to aid in that ongoing recovery.

"I think everyone knows that thing is going right where I live," said Red Sox ace Chris Sale, who lives in Naples. "It's rolling. Everybody in my family lives down there. My family, my wife and kids came up here. My in-laws are staying with my sister and my parents are getting out of there tomorrow. Everyone is safe but it's still scary. You just hope for the best.

Everyone around baseball hopes that somehow Irma goes back out to sea and doesn't do any more damage than has already been inflicted.

"You want your mind to be here tied up in what you're doing, but it's definitely caught up on what's going on over there," said Pirates utility man Sean Rodriguez, who grew up in Miami and has family there and homes there and in Tampa.

"You hope you can go out there and do what's expected of you, but hopefully at the same time take people's minds and attentions off a lot of the bad that's going on for a couple hours -- just enjoy themselves and let their minds be at ease."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.