Professional athletes are paid millions of dollars to perform. They’re expected to be in peak condition – physically and mentally – every time they take the field of play.

That wasn’t easy for the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend at Fenway Park. As they played three games against the Red Sox, their focus was put to the test by Hurricane Irma as it barreled toward the west coast of Florida.

For three hours or so each day the Rays couldn’t watch CNN or the Weather Channel to track the storm’s approach. They had to focus on major league fastballs being thrown in their direction.

Rays Manager Kevin Cash told reporters it was going to be “eerie” on Sunday as the hurricane made landfall in the middle of the Rays’ game with Boston. Sure enough the storm was battering Naples and the Florida Gulf coast just as the two teams were playing the seventh inning at sunny, calm Fenway Park.

After the game the Rays packed up their bags and traveled to New York … for a home series with the Yankees. That series was moved to Citi Field, the home of the Mets, because there was no chance the games could be played in St. Petersburg.

Not an ideal situation, but one the Rays had to accept.

“I’m fine with that,” said Cash. “Look, we’ve got to suck it up on our end and deal with it. It’s not the most important thing.”

His point is well taken. Worrying about a baseball season took a back seat to the devastation being unleashed on more than 6 million people in Florida. JetBlue Park, the spring training home of the Sox, was being battered by Irma in Fort Myers even as the facilities were being used to shelter people from the storm.

Many Red Sox players have family in southwest Florida, like catcher Sandy Leon. His extended family was there, including his wife. She was eight months pregnant and unable to fly. Leon knew he had to focus on the game, but there’s no way part of his thoughts weren’t with her.

The major league season keeps rolling uninterrupted. The Houston Astros missed just one home series because of Hurricane Harvey, and their return to Minute Maid Park helped lift the spirits of a battered community.

The Rays are scheduled to return to Florida after their “home” series in New York. Their next opponent is the Red Sox, who were waiting to see if next weekend’s series would be played at Tropicana Field, or elsewhere.

“I don’t really care what takes place with us going forward, who we’re playing or where we’re playing,” Cash told reporters. “It’s more a concern of what’s going on back home.”

While the Red Sox were trying to beat the Rays on the field, both teams agreed they would do whatever it takes to play the games in a manner that was the least intrusive to the people of Florida.

“Our schedule is flexible,” said Red Sox Manager John Farrell. “Our concern is with the people in the area.”

That concern was evident Sunday afternoon at Fenway. The Sox and Rays came together at gates around the park to raise money for Hurricane relief.

Joining them were the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers – who traveled north to open training camp this week in Boston. It was a nice reminder that disasters like this can bring out the best in people, even as others are experiencing their worst moments.

For the Rays, and players with family in Florida, it was all they could do. Then they had to put everything away and get back to work. After all, they’re professionals.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.