For 21 hours each of the last several days, Matt Albers and Anthony Rendon’s minds have been on Houston, on their families and their friends trying to survive through the worst flooding incident their hometown has ever experienced.
And then for three hours each day, the two Nationals try everything they can to block out the more important matters at home and concentrate all their attention on their jobs. It’s no easy task.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” Rendon said after Tuesday night’s 8-3 win over the Marlins. “It’s on my mind constantly. I would say when your family is in need and your friends are in need, people that you care about growing up (in the) city of Houston, that’s definitely home for me. But you’ve got to just take it in stride and have faith in the man upstairs that he has a plan.”
Rendon’s house has avoided significant damage so far, but his parents had to evacuate their home and move to their son’s house for the time being.
Albers watched from afar as his eight-months-pregnant wife, Tara, and their young son left their suburban Houston home and went to Dallas.
As many other Houston-area athletes have done in recent days, Rendon and Albers set up a website to collect donations to help those dealing with the worst in their hometown. In the span of one evening, they already raised more than $35,000.
Both players, along with many of their Nationals teammates, sent out links to the website only minutes before first pitch of Tuesday night’s game. Then they took the field and tried to find normalcy in baseball.
“It’s kind of like a safe haven,” Albers said “It’s easy to get your mind off it when you’re on the field, in between that, in the bullpen, and talking on the phone. These last few days have been a little better, but with that doubleheader (Sunday) talking with my wife right before the game and when she came back, that was tough just kind of looking at my phone, checking my phone, coming in here. ... It’s a good way to get away from it, but our hearts are still with the people back in Houston.”
For three hours, baseball has been a refuge for these players. As much as it can be, given the circumstances.
“That’s what they always say: You’re free when you’re out there on the field,” Rendon said. “But you can’t run from reality. Those are your loved ones back home, so they’re obviously going to be on your mind day in and day out.”
Help Matt and I support Houston! https://t.co/GZsQwMyZUi-- Anthony Rendon (@Anthonyrendon_6) August 29, 2017