The Texas Rangers are getting ready to deliver items the team has collected for residents of a Texas town recovering from a deadly blast at a fertilizer plant.
During its series this past weekend with Seattle, the Rangers collected various items, including thousands of dollars in gift cards, for residents of West. Rangers fans and employees and the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation also donated about $40,000 in cash.
"Everybody there is rallying around, trying to help that community get back on their feet,” said Kevin Mench, former Rangers outfielder. "As soon as it happened, people were on the phone trying to get things done."
Volunteers and team employees spent Tuesday morning loading boxes onto trucks headed for West, which is about 90 miles south of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
“It's always about the fans; it's about the community. That's why we play -- we play for them," Mench said. “Sports helps people to recover. ... It gives them a chance to change their thought process a little bit.”
Last week's deadly blast at the West Fertilizer Co. killed 14 people and injured 200 others. Most of the dead were first responders.
It hit close to home for Mench, whose in-laws live just a few miles away. But you don't have to know someone from West to know the town and help, he said.
"The support will always be there," he said. "If you're from Texas, you've heard of West, driving down [Interstate] 35, so it's not something that going to be forgotten about."
Investigators have not determined what caused the explosion.