Hurricane puts return times for GJ Rockies players in flux

With Hurricane Irma tearing through the Caribbean and Florida, Hurricane Jose sitting just off shore and Hurricane Harvey breaking up over Texas, weather has impacted a good portion of Minor League Baseball.

For the Grand Junction Rockies, roughly one third of its roster hails from Central or South America. The severe weather might hinder travel plans — Grand Junction manager Frank Gonzales said he believes the Colorado Rockies organization will be accommodating to such needs — and players said they’ve been in close contact with family members.

Second baseman Shael Mendoza hails from San Pedro De Macoris along the southeastern coast of the Dominican Republic, an area that was inside the outer edge of Irma’s path. He said through a translator that he’s staying in touch with family members until he can return home.

“All I can do is communicate,” Mendoza said. “It’s all in God’s hands. You always worry about it, but you just hope for the best.”

Further east is La Romana, Dominican Republic, where outfielder Ramon Marcelino is from. Although the Dominican Republic won’t receive the same intensity of wind as somewhere like St. Martin, Marcelino said he’s concerned for the entire region.

“Everything should be OK where I live, but I’m worried about a lot of the people who are in that area,” Marcelino said. “You just hope for the best for everybody who is down there.”

The storms have impacted Minor League Baseball beyond Grand Junction and the Pioneer League.

The Double-A Southern League canceled its championship series and opted to award shares of the title to divisional series winners.

Southern League president Lori Webb said in a statement that potential shortages and hazardous travel conditions led to her cancelling the series.

“With an abundance of caution, I have made the hard decision to cancel our championships series,” Webb said. “Due to concerns for our players’ safety, coupled with potential shortages of gas, hotel rooms and other items that may hinder the many evacuees leaving the affected area, it seemed like the right thing to do. As this storm passes through, I hope for the best for all in harm’s way.”

The Florida State League — the Low-A league where former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow plays — also canceled its championship series, taking the same approach as the Southern League. The Class-A Advanced Carolina League will also award shares of its league championship and shortened its divisional round to three games, down from the normal five.


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