Omaha, Iowa minor leaguers watch hurricane from distance

“You want to make sure everybody’s, you hope everyone’s ok.”
It can be a helpless feeling when a natural disaster hits close to home or where a loved one lives.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 10:52 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Hurricane Fiona has completed its punishment of the Caribbean.

Now families are digging out of the floods and damage left behind and Iowa Cubs outfielder Narciso Crook isn’t there.

”It’s tough because we’re so far away, we’re in Omaha, Nebraska right now,” Crook said. In his ninth professional season, he said his family back in Nagua, Dominican Republic is safe, while roads are blocked, electricity is out and many are seeking refuge. “It’s tough to be here, it’s tough to be busy playing so it’s hard to get in contact sometimes. You want to make sure everybody’s, you hope everyone’s ok.”

In this AAA game, Narciso is one of three Iowa Cubs and six Omaha Storm Chasers who hail from the Caribbean. Crook is 27 and has weathered these storms from afar before. But his teammate and fellow Dominican, outfielder Alexander Canario from Monte Cristi, is only 22 with a two-month-old daughter back home.

“It’s very hard,” he said through Crook as a translator. “It’s hard to see other people losing their homes, people who are going through a lot of loss right now over there, but I’m trying my best to stay in touch with everyone I can, my family, my wife, my daughter, just to make sure everybody over there is safe, and he’s doing his best to make sure that everybody’s ok.”

And except for the damage most of their island is facing, his family is safe. And apparently, both Cubs were relaxed for the series opener in Omaha. Canario hit his first AAA homer in his first at-bat, and his translator Crook drilled a double a few batters later.

Omaha manager Scott Thorman’s team has players from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and three other countries. Over the years, he’s learned to keep communications open with international players.

“You know after this last big one, so far, I’m happy to report everybody’s good,” Thorman said. “[Hurricane Fiona] was very much on our radar, as are all world events, and bringing together a team of right now 33 active players from all corners of the world, it’s pretty neat to see the dynamic and the love these guys have for each other.”

”That’s why we’re here if for whatever reason [Canario] needs to talk,” Crook said. “In this case, I’ve been doing this for a little bit longer so I say ‘this is what you do,’ we’re helping each other out, we’re here for each other, our whole team, actually, we’re all here to support each other, so if anything were to go wrong or happen, we have each other’s backs.”

All of these guys, of course, would like to finish their season playing for their parent clubs in Kansas City or Chicago. But if they’re not called up, you can bet they’ll be on the first available flight home.