Florida is still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Ian, which ravaged the state earlier this week, causing extensive damage to coastal cities Sarasota, Naples and Fort Myers. Since 1993, the Red Sox have made their spring training home in Fort Myers, playing Grapefruit League games at JetBlue Park. While the stadium remains mostly intact, JetBlue Park was impacted by the storm, resulting in toppled street signs, wind-damaged poles and fallen trees.
The concourse was also affected, with most of the signage missing from this concession stand.
In conjunction with the Twins (who also have a facility in Fort Myers), the Red Sox issued a press release Friday, pledging to take an active role in the city’s recovery efforts while sending love and support to all those affected by Ian.
While early forecasts suggested Tampa would be hit hardest, Fort Myers bore the brunt of Ian, leading to widespread flooding brought on by intense storm surges with sustained winds of over 100 mph. Now wreaking havoc on the Carolinas, Ian’s impact on Southwest Florida was unprecedented, with surreal scenes like this providing a haunting memory of one of the deadliest storms to ever make landfall in the United States.
Hurricane season is always a scary time in our country, though even more so in recent years, as global warming and climate change conspire to make catastrophic weather events a more frequent occurrence. While the Red Sox have to be relieved Fenway South was spared the worst of Ian, that doesn’t make what happened in Florida this week any less heartbreaking, an unspeakable tragedy that will take Fort Myers and its surrounding communities months, if not years, to recover from.