Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Area Codes that Matter

Story, Photo by Kent Paisley 
Simms photo courtesy Syracuse Chiefs (Danny Tripodi)

Syracuse, N.Y. – The Syracuse Chiefs and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs came into NBT Bank stadium this Tuesday evening to play baseball in the 315 area code. 

The Chiefs went on to win 4-1, behind a stellar performance by starting pitcher Chris Simms, throwing seven scoreless innings while allowing three hits and striking out nine.   

But only three numbers mattered to Simms.

281, 713, and 832. 

The area codes of Houston Texas, his hometown, which Simms drew on his cleats before the game.    

“I’ve lived there for pretty much my whole life," Simms explained. "That’s home, that’s where I’m from, that’s where I went to school, that’s where I’ve gone back every year, that’s where everyone I know lives.

“It’s kind of hard not to think about it.”

Tropical Storm Harvey has been an unprecedented natural disaster in the Houston Texas area, with the top reading of 51.88 inches of rain recorded as of Tuesday afternoon in parts of Houston, per the New York Times.

It’s hitting home for Simms, and he sees constant reminders of the destruction in his home town and his alma matter, Rice University.. 

“There’s snapchat stories, Instagram stories, of all my friends, massive oak trees toppling over at Rice, guys going outside and seeing 30 feet of water,” he said.

Tropical Storm Harvey is still battering Houston, and he’s processing playing baseball over being with his family.

“There’s nothing I can actually do. I’m in Syracuse, New York, but these are the people I actually know.”

While the zip codes may be the numbers that matter to Simms, for now what truly matters are the people in his life.

The Syracuse Chiefs have launched a fund drive for clothes donations. For a list of local charities to consider donating to help out those affected by Tropical Storm Harvey, visit Charity Navigator.    

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