Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Harvey vs Maria? Natural disaster spread thruout southwest, Caribbean

One reason I’ve heard given as to why everybody is supposed to be rooting for the Houston Astros to win the World Series this week is because of the devastation caused this summer by Hurricane Harvey.

The Clemente Award for charitable works
After all, the people of Houston need a moral victory of sorts to boost their spirits following the devastation spread across the Texas city.

NOT THAT I’M badmouthing Houston in any way. I’m sure there might be a few people who would think in such terms – as though seeing the Astros finally win a World Series for the first time in their 55th year of existence might make up for any losses they suffered due to the storm’s devastation.

But I can’t help but think that such logic trivializes what happened with Harvey (the hurricane, not the one-time All Star Harvey Kuenn). As though Houston is now fully recovered just because they got a World Series victory – and will be able to stage a massive parade through the city as a result.

All of this may well be the reason why the most intriguing moment of the World Series activity that took place last week and this has to do with Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs receiving the Clemente Award from Major League Baseball.

The award named for the late Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente is presented every year during the World Series to the ballplayer who engages in charitable work aside from his ballplaying activities.
Clemente made ultimate contribution

IN RIZZO’S CASE, he operates a foundation meant to support groups that address the issue of children who suffer from cancer. Last year, his group helped provide some $4 million to fund the Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

A nice cause. But what does any of that have to do with the World Series or Houston?

It’s that Rizzo received a $25,000 prize for receiving the Clemente Award, and Rizzo immediately donated that money to relief efforts meant to help the people of Puerto Rico – who suffered devastation also this summer from Hurricane Maria.

Which has caused so much devastation and has such a messed-up relief effort that there are large swaths of the island commonwealth remaining without electricity or running water – even though the hurricane struck a couple of months ago.
Clemente replacement a star in own right

I’M NOT SAYING I expect Puerto Rico to be back up and running at full efficiency this quickly. No more than it shouldn’t be surprising there are still signs of Harvey damage in Houston.

But for all the people who try to diminish the significance of what is occurring in Puerto Rico these days for their own cheap political advantage (I’m looking directly at President Donald J. Trump when I make this statement), it’s nice to see someone bring up the relief effort at a time when certain elements would rather focus attention on Houston.

Particularly in a way that really doesn’t do a thing to benefit that city or its people. Like the cliché goes, talk is cheap. These people don’t want to kick in with cash that could help the efforts to rebuild the damage caused by so many storms that struck this summer – Mother Nature really was in a foul mood during 2017!

And yes, Puerto Rico is a U.S. commonwealth – giving our federal government just as much responsibility for overseeing a rebuild there as it has for any rebuild done on the U.S. mainland.
Would you really rather think of Yuli and Yu ...
THE FACT THAT Rizzo would bring up the Puerto Rico relief effort as part of an official World Series-related activity is a plus – particularly since it reminds us all of Clemente – the ballplayer who in his final game of 1972 got his 3,000th base hit. Only to be killed in a crash months later when he tried to try an overloaded airplane with supplies as part of the relief of an earthquake that struck Nicaragua.

An event that I’m sure would be long-forgotten amongst many of us if it hadn’t have cost the Pirates a star ballplayer – got to get our “priorities” right. Is Puerto Rico worth less to many of us because San Juan (the capital) hasn’t been deemed worthy of a U.S. major league ball club?
... when remembering the 2017 World Series?
Thinking of Rizzo is certainly more interesting than much of the World Series activity – unless you’re the type who wants to use the taint of controversy over Yuli Gurriel’s “slant-eyed” mocking gesture to pitcher Yu Darvish to somehow downplay slurs expressed in this country.

I have heard some say that since Gurriel is Cuban and Darvish is from Japan, we should realize that such attitudes are universal, and that the five-game suspension Gurriel will get next season is unfair. Just like they probably think it unfair that Rizzo’s gesture drew attention away from Houston hurricane devastation and toward Puerto Rico.


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