Hurricane Gustav hit the Gulf Coast today, and Oriole pitcher Lance Cormier had a reason to keep an eye on the news. Cormier is a Louisiana native, and his parents, grandparents and sister still live in LaFayette, LA.
He excused himself from our discussion in the clubhouse to call home around 3:30 p.m. Luckily, everybody was okay after deciding a few days ago to stay put and ride out the storm.
Lance said his parents lost power, and saw some shingles from their roof laying in the yard. It was minor damage compared to 2005 when Hurricane Rita ripped through LaFayette. In that storm his family's roof had to be replaced, and he said the cleanup effort to remove downed trees in the streets was extensive.
It was interesting to hear Cormier downplay the threat of a hurricane. He said growing up in Louisiana, it was just part of life. His mentality is completely foreign to those of us who grew up in the mid-Atlantic region where natural disasters are extremely rare.
Cormier's teammates listened in the clubhouse as he told stories of sitting in his family's garage as a child during a major hurricane. He described how loud the wind and rain sounded as the house was pounded by the elements. It must have been frightening for a child to experience.
Listening to Lance, we were all reminded of how insignificant baseball can be when part of our country is dealing with disaster. My thoughts and prayers turn to those beginning the cleanup on the Gulf Coast today.