The Philadelphia Phillies have an off-day in the 2018 schedule today. Thursday will be spent at their homes, with the slumping club in the middle of the final lengthy home stand of the season.
As the Phillies sit at home, the Miami Marlins are on the road. Today they will be making the short trip down I-95 from New York to Philadelphia following a series there with the host Mets.
After completing their sweep of the Phillies last night, the Washington Nationals headed back south to their home in the nation’s capital. The Nats will host the Chicago Cubs to make-up a game postponed during a series affected by weather just last weekend.
The Nationals, who have now pulled within a single game of the Phillies in the loss column in the National League East Division standings, then go on the road further south for a five-game trip to Atlanta and Miami.
All of this Major League Baseball action up and down the east coast comes at exactly the same time that Hurricane Florence will be reaching the United States.
The massive storm is expected to strike directly at the North Carolina-South Carolina border late Thursday and into Friday leaving destruction and likely death in its wake thanks to high winds, storm surge, flooding, and related issues.
The weather forecast in Philadelphia is looking good for this weekend, with no more than a 20% chance of rain at any point. That is thanks to a high-pressure system, one that will actually be a major contributor to the problems experienced by others.
That high-pressure system will keep Florence to our south, holding it in place in the Carolinas longer. This means heavy rainfall and flooding will continue inland for days after the storm makes its initial landfall at the coast.
But for their division rivals and for at least one of the Phillies own players, the storm will still be having an effect. In fact, because of the proximity to the storm area and even the slight chance that it could track a bit further north, the Cubs wanted to have their trip to D.C. postponed until October 1.
Whitney McIntosh with SB Nation described how the whole Nationals-Cubs situation developed in the first place, and why this particular date was selected for the make-up game:
“…all stemmed from a rainy weekend in D.C., which involved more than 10 hours of rain delays over multiple days. Including a Friday night debacle (September 7) where the Nationals wanted to call it early and Cubs players held out in the hopes the rain would move on. Frustration abounded and fans were confused as the delay dragged on into the night. That all led to a late-night postponement and a true doubleheader played on Saturday (which was also delayed!), followed by yet another postponement on Sunday. With Thursday the only shared off day for both teams, it was the easiest and only choice for a rescheduling.”
Bottom line, MLB did not want to risk the chance of rescheduling on October 1, which was the Cubs preference due to the storm. What if that game proved vital to the standings and was itself postponed by weather? Such a scenario could then back-up the entire postseason schedule. “Our voices have certainly been heard, but we don’t have any control,” said Chicago GM Theo Epstein per McIntosh.
Phillies newcomer Justin Bour was born in Washington, D.C. and went to college at George Mason University in northern Virginia. He is the lone player currently on the 40-man roster who is from the general area to be impacted by the storm.
25-year old rookie relief pitcher Yacksel Rios hails from Puerto Rico, where Hurricanes Maria and Rita caused extensive damage and killed more than 3,000 people just one year ago. The island is still trying to recover today.
“I’ve been thinking all the time,” Rios told Matt Gelb of Philly.com late last September. “At least I had contact with my older brother. Just, I’m worried if they’re eating or not. I know they have some supplies there. But I don’t know for how long it will last them. They say power will be gone for months. I feel desperate. I can’t talk with them. I want to send things. If they need something, I want to send something. But they don’t respond.”
Those are exactly the types of emotions that folks in the Carolinas will be experiencing in the coming hours, days, weeks, and even months.
Just two weeks ago, my wife and I drove down to Florida from Philadelphia, and of course drove right through the areas to be directly impacted by Hurricane Florence. By coincidence we stayed overnight at a hotel in Florence, South Carolina. Beautiful country with wonderful people, many of whom will have evacuated by now.
The lone MLB game that is likely to be directly affected by the storm will come on Friday night in Baltimore, where the host Orioles contest with the Chicago White Sox faces an 80% chance of thunderstorms due to the outskirts of the storm. However, the NL East teams will each have to keep the storm in mind as they travel up and down the coast.
Football games are being affected as well. College games are already being rescheduled at Clemson, Liberty, and Coastal Carolina. The Marshall at South Carolina game has been cancelled completely.
In the NFL, the Carolina Panthers are scheduled to be at the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon. Panthers coach Ron Rivera stated that the team is making “several contingency plans” for the players and their families per Jordan Rodrigue with the Charlotte Observer.
“And our thoughts and prayers most certainly go to everybody that is in the path of this hurricane, just to make sure everybody is safe. But we do have a few plans, and as each day goes by we will see where we are before we make any decisions.”
The Philadelphia Eagles travel south to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. It is expected that many fans of the Super Bowl champion Eagles will be making the trip. Any who are planning on traveling to Florida over the next couple of days should be sure to check for changes and delays to airline and train schedules.
Local Philly meteorologist Katie Fehlinger with CBS3 commented on the Eagles game and travel impacts for fans per Glenn Erby at the USA Today’s “Eagles Wire”:
“Unless fans are connecting in Charlotte or Atlanta, I doubt they’d have any major problem flying there. We and Tampa will thankfully be spared the worst of the storm. I can’t imagine many would be driving or taking the train, but those routes are probably going to be closed off, clogged or rerouted.”
STAY INFORMED at this link for the National Weather Service dedicated site for updated information on Hurricane Florence.
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION:
- Jake Arrieta’s first season with Phillies is proving a mixed bag
- Warnings to be found for the 2019 Phillies in the plight of the 2018 Minnesota Twins
- Jimmy Rollins ambition was always to become a Baseball Hall of Famer
- Phillies back-end rotation arms have contributed to the overall collapse
- Paul Owens Award winners announced as Phillies top performing minor leaguers