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updated: 9/5/2017 5:57 AM

Rozner: White Sox World Series hero Blum sees worst of Harvey, best of Houston

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  • Chris McCarty and Mike Taylor help carry Quintin Sanders, who has cerebral palsy, off a rescue boat in the north end of Beaumont, Texas on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. McCarty came from Lufkin, Texas to help rescue people from flooding due to Tropical Storm Harvey.  (Ryan Pelham/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP)

    Chris McCarty and Mike Taylor help carry Quintin Sanders, who has cerebral palsy, off a rescue boat in the north end of Beaumont, Texas on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. McCarty came from Lufkin, Texas to help rescue people from flooding due to Tropical Storm Harvey. (Ryan Pelham/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP)

  • Katie Churchwell holds up a sign during the first inning of a baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Astros moved their three-game home series against the Rangers to St. Petersburg because of unsafe conditions from Hurricane Harvey.

    Katie Churchwell holds up a sign during the first inning of a baseball game between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Astros moved their three-game home series against the Rangers to St. Petersburg because of unsafe conditions from Hurricane Harvey.

 
 

The reason the word "unimaginable" is used so frequently by those who have seen or endured the devastation in Texas is that until something of that magnitude is witnessed in person, no picture can do it justice.

It's just a video on TV, a great lake that covers mile after painful mile, where homes and business and lives once flourished.

"To actually see the results of what Hurricane Harvey brought was truly astonishing," Geoff Blum told us on the Score Sunday morning, just a day after returning home to Houston. "Everything we were watching was much like what you guys in Chicago saw on TV.

"But to get home and put your eyes on it, that brought the reality home."

The White Sox World Series hero is now an Astros color analyst for SportsNet Southwest in Houston, and he was with the team last week when the Astros could get only as far as Dallas, unable to reach their homes and families.

Forced to Tampa for a few days, the team finally got back to Texas and could recognize little of what they saw.

"We flew up through Galveston Bay and when we were looking out the windows, we saw water continuously. We had to check the map on the TVs in front of us to see if we were over land," Blum said incredulously. "We couldn't tell the difference if we were over the Gulf of Mexico or over a city.

"It was astonishing to see how deep into the coastline we were as far as flooding."

He sounded shaken, still, when remembering the conversations with his wife and four children as the storm was hitting Houston and the club was diverted to Tampa for a series with the Rangers.

"We lucked out. We're dry. The water got up to the porch," Blum said. "But talk about feeling hopeless while you're on the phone with your wife trying to stay safe during tornado warnings, and the water is creeping up toward the house in the front and back, and they're hiding in the closet.

"It took everything to not ditch the team and head home."

What Blum has seen and heard since then is the best of what he knows to be true, what some of us believe to be the best of this country, but what is rarely discussed on cable or network news, what hardly ever creates a headline.

People of all creeds, colors and kinds helping one another, risking their own lives to help strangers.

"People aren't covering this as much as some of the other political situations that are happening," Blum said. "But Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country and it's an example of people coming together in a time of tragedy."

That doesn't promote clicks.

People forming human chains to rescue someone from a vehicle in a raging river that was once a common street in a quiet neighborhood does not lend itself to five-person panels where experts scream at one another and talk about how horrible is the human condition.

People coming from hundreds of miles away to offer their boats and help strangers is not sexy.

People looking out for those they have never met before, and might never see again, does not usually offer a viral video.

But ordinary people see someone in need and most ordinary people possess the instinct to do something because most people in this country are fundamentally good and react with little thought for themselves.

That's not going to trend on Twitter.

The kindness, the love, the humanity displayed by those taking care of complete strangers has been heartening -- and we probably shouldn't be surprised.

But given the way the country is portrayed, to many it's probably -- for lack of a better word -- unimaginable.

brozner@dailyherald.com

• Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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