In the month since the devastating Category 4 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, recovery has been slow: The vast majority of residents are still immersed in one of the largest blackouts in U.S. history; much of the island’s infrastructure is destroyed; and full restoration of power remains many months away. But even amid the devastation, it’s not hard to observe the island’s devotion to its favorite sport — one that features many of its own. To watch his son in this year’s Fall Classic, Astros backup catcher Juan Centeno‘s father hooked a television up to a car battery.
To a man, they say they hope the World Series can bring a glimmer of joy to the island’s residents. In the middle of their hunt for a championship, they talked to ESPN about Maria’s impact and how the joy of bringing a World Series ring to Puerto Rico has become a true source of inspiration.
Carlos Correa, Astros shortstop: The first thing I would do [with a World Series ring] is go home, hug my family and then do anything I can to help the people in my country. A World Series win would really mean a lot — not everything, but a lot. Obviously a lot of stuff is going on over there, but we’re able to bring a little bit of joy and happiness through baseball to the fans in Puerto Rico, and that really means a lot to us.
It makes me really happy [that both teams have Puerto Rican players], but we got five Puerto Ricans in this side. So hopefully we’re gonna impact a lot more people in Puerto Rico than just one guy. So hopefully we can come up with the win.
Carlos Beltran, Astros DH: The support I have received from the people of Puerto Rico and my fans around the world has been great. I have a lot of messages from friends wishing me well, hoping for me to win the World Series. At the end of the day, you know what, I am excited to be in this position. I am happy to be around at this point in my career and I am looking forward to just go out there and try to do the best I can.
I come from a humble family back home in Puerto Rico, and I worked extremely hard to become a professional ballplayer and to get to the big leagues, and to stay in the big leagues for 20 years you have to work hard. I am a proven example that if you take care of yourself and you’re disciplined and you do things, God will find a way to bless you. I am very thankful to have my mom and dad in……….
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Editor’s Note: To our knowledge, George Springer is not Puerto Rican, his grandfather was form Panama.