Mets pitch in to help Houston's residents

Mets pitch in to help Houston's residents

HOUSTON -- After the Mets touched down at Hobby Airport late Thursday night, they watched from their bus as people in the surrounding communities emptied homes of waterlogged furniture, clothes and other unusable goods, spilling their lives out onto the curbside. The water level may have receded, but the work had only just begun.

The next morning, Mets players fanned out across Houston to perform what acts of kindness they could. One group of players drove to the First Baptist Church in Pasadena, Texas, where they helped a man who drove over 1,000 miles from Wisconsin unpack a truckload of supplies. Another group went to the Houston Police Officers Union, meeting with Mayor Sylvester Turner. Team employees volunteered at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston's largest shelter in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

"We did what we thought was right," Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud said. "The bigger helpers were the people in that community."

For the Mets, this was no mere photo opp. The club kept its acts in the Houston community private while they were happening, hoping to deter those with cameras and notebooks. Players simply wanted to contribute -- quietly and effectively.

"We all wanted to help out however we could," said outfielder Brandon Nimmo. "I know we only made a little dent in what could be done, but that's the way that we felt like we could go in and just help out a little bit."

The Mets' opportunity to help came about after the Astros asked to return home for this weekend's series, rather than play it in St. Petersburg, Fla. Players wanted a day to spend in their community, checking on their homes, embracing their families and helping out with relief efforts.

As a result, the Mets had Friday off prior to a doubleheader on Saturday. Many of them used the free time to help.

"It takes tragedies to bring people together, and that's what's going on here," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "If this helps people's spirits ... then it's the right thing to do."

During a pregame address to the crowd at Minute Maid Park, Astros manager A.J. Hinch personally thanked the Mets not only for accommodating their schedule, but for using it to do good works in the community.

"For that," Hinch said, "I'm forever grateful."

As his players filtered into the visiting dugout following the pregame ceremony, Collins personally walked out to exchange lineup cards with Hinch. The two teams then took the field for a baseball game -- a diversion that they hoped could also help those in need.

"You do what you've got to do," Collins said. "When they ask you to do this for the reasons they asked, you just do it. You don't question it. You don't complain about it. You just do it. ... We just hope we can add something to help get these people through the next several months."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.