Marlins' focus on storm, not contingency plans

Marlins' focus on storm, not contingency plans

ATLANTA -- The Weather Channel has taken over most of the television sets in the Marlins' clubhouse at SunTrust Park.

At the time players usually arrive to get ready for the game, the TVs typically would be on the MLB Network or wherever baseball was being shown. But with Hurricane Irma approaching the state of Florida, the Marlins have changed their pregame viewing habits.

"It's definitely a distraction," catcher A.J. Ellis said. "It's definitely on the forefront of our minds. It's definitely something that is dominating a lot of the conversation around our clubhouse. It's dominating a lot of the conversation with our families. I don't think I've ever been in a clubhouse where, throughout the entire place, The Weather Channel is the most popular station."

Hurricane Irma, a massive storm that threatens both coasts of Florida, is churning in the direction of South Florida, putting everyone from Miami to Naples at potential risk.

The Marlins are in the midst of a four-game series at Atlanta, and next week face the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Several players packed for perhaps a longer trip, should Irma impact the team from returning to face the Brewers at Marlins Park on Sept. 15.

As of now, the Marlins and MLB haven't made any contingency plans, should Marlins Park not be suitable for hosting games late next week.

The way Ellis sees it, the top priority is the safety of South Florida.

"That could be a reality," Ellis said of the club having to stay on the road, or perhaps play Milwaukee at Miller Park. "It could happen.

"But we are spoiled rotten as professional athletes, professional baseball players. Any resource we need is at our disposal, and we will be accommodated and treated in a way that is first class and in a way we don't deserve, especially in light of what our fans and what the people of Miami and South Florida are about to experience, and the people in the Caribbean have already experienced. It's tragic and it's devastating."

To Ellis, there are bigger issues facing the market.

"You can't think of yourself in a moment like this," he said. "You have to think about what people who are less fortunate are going to do. And you have to start thinking about what you're going to do to help pick up the pieces when it's over."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.