Last month the Astros, Astros fans and the City of the Houston celebrated the long-awaited official induction of Craig Biggio into the Baseball Hall of Fame. We’re capping off the celebration this weekend with a special pregame ceremony on Saturday featuring Craig Biggio in his first opportunity to address Astros fans since he was inducted into Cooperstown. Details about the pregame ceremony can be found at our Biggio HOF landing page — gates open at 3:30 pm, fans should be in their seats at 5 pm, Biggio’s Hall of Fame plaque will be on display at Union Square Station and we’ll have special postgame fireworks. But we wanted to share a guest post from our MLB.com Real-Time Correspondent, Ryan Gonzalez, who was in Cooperstown last month for the induction.
By Ryan Gonzalez, Special to Mission Control
Last month, I checked something off the top of my bucket list: go to Cooperstown. My dad always said when either Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as the first Astros player, we would be there.
Like many kids, my dad is the reason I got into baseball. He took me to my first game at the Astrodome when I was five, and I couldn’t believe there were men playing a game that I had just started playing myself. I remember him saying, “Do you see those guys in the blue and gold? They’re from Houston, they’re who we go for.” I instantly said he was lying as I couldn’t believe there was a team from Houston that I got to cheer for. I wanted to learn everything about the Astros from that day forward, and I did. I grew up cheering on the Killer B’s and seeing the Astros fall just short of winning a World Series with them. We weren’t going to miss it when any of them entered the Hall of Fame.
It seems like many others had the same idea. On our flight to Albany on Thursday, we had to take a stop to Tampa first and 85 people remained on the plane to continue their journey to Cooperstown. The moment we stepped off the plane and walked through the airport, we started hearing “Wow, that’s a lot of Astros fans.” This would continue to be a common occurrence all weekend as that was heard at the Hall of Fame Museum, at the Induction Ceremony, and even the nearby sports bar where all Astros fans congregated for their games against the Red Sox and Royals.
— Houston Astros (@astros) July 25, 2015
Seeing that many Astros fans make the trip all the way to New York made the experience even better. Biggio’s play in the field made fans love him, and his work off the field made fans respect him. Biggio is the reason I played second base growing up and the reason my uniform was always dirty. He helped turn Houston into a baseball city, and we were out in full force to support him.
On Saturday, we finally made it out to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame Museum and the 2015 Hall of Fame Parade. Of course, there were many great things to see throughout the exhibit, and right on the first floor with the Plaque Gallery was an area for this years class. Craig Biggio’s section had his hat from the game he got hit 3,000, his bat from that season, his Opening Day 2003 jersey, and even some awards he had received over the years.
As we moved through the Hall, there were plenty of more items belonging to the Astros that had everybody smiling. In the Astros section on the second floor was Jeff Bagwell’s 2005 World Series jersey, Jose Altuve’s bat from the final game of the 2014 season, and Lance Berkman’s grand slam ball from the 18-inning game in the 2005 NLDS. Chris Burke’s 18-inning home run ball was also on display a little further along the way.
After exiting the Hall of Fame, we walked through Cooperstown and went through all the various shops selling many baseball memorabilia and souvenirs. One thing was very common though throughout all the shops selling 2015 Class items: they were sold out of everything related to Craig Biggio.
— Ryan Gonzalez (@RyanGonzalezRTC) July 25, 2015
It was a sea of blue and orange everywhere we went, and there were several “B-G-O” chants that broke out leading up to the parade. Those chants were nothing compared to when Biggio finally came out. We could hear his name all the way up the street. It was surreal to see him in the back of a truck with thousands of Astros packed in just to catch a brief glimpse of him.
Finally, it was induction day. 50,000 packed the Clark Sports Center for the 2015 Class, and it was an emotional time for many there. Biggio did what he did his entire career, and that was lead things off. The crowd cheered his name non-stop until he started speaking, and we listened to every word. By the time his speech was over, there weren’t very many dry eyes left. His speech ended with a standing ovation and one last “B-G-O” chant.
The Astros fans finally had their guy in Cooperstown.
Hello Astros fans! Orbit here, back for another guest post here on Mission Control. It’s been a crazy and exciting time here at Minute Maid Park since my last guest post back in April, and while the team’s been doing great, I’ve been keeping busy both on and off the field!
In case you missed it, me and my fur ball buddies, Clutch and Diesel, ventured into our second foray of feats of mascot strength a few short weeks ago. This time, we tackled the Cypress Triathlon to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you haven’t seen our team page, check it out at https://my.reason2race.com/event/cypresstriathlonbbbstx.
For those of who aren’t familiar with a triathlon, it’s a swim, bike ride and run all in succession. You know….because doing them on their own for each of us was just too easy for fat mascots. This triathlon was of the sprint variety, meaning we had to complete a 550 meter swim, 13 mile bike ride, capped off by a 5K run.
While we’re all a little insane, we aren’t completely out of our minds, so we broke it up into a mascot relay of sorts. Since Clutch and I each have ventured into running and biking, respectively, Diesel drew the undoubtedly hardest straw to kick-off our relay with the swim. While we knew we weren’t going to break any records that day, we all had a goal in mind of being competitive. In hind sight, this proved to be a little ambitious.
As I said, Diesel kicked the race off with his open water 550 meter swim. If you guessed that water and mascots mix, you’d be exactly wrong. Poor guy fox paddled the entire way though and managed to make it through in one piece. If you’ve ever seen a meme of a cat after it gets a bath, that’s about the closest thing I can think to compare his exit from the pond. Tired, water logged, but not beaten, Diesel emerged from the water in a much faster time than any of us had thought he might and tagged me in for the bike portion of the race.
This is the part of the post where I’m suppose to tell you that my 13 miles on a bike was easier than moon walking on ice. After all, I’ve ridden a bike for 180 miles over two days. Two things I forgot to factor in….Texas heat in July and humidity. I’m going on record as saying that I love our roof at Minute Maid Park and that it really would have come in handy that day. Five minutes in I was drenched with sweat and smelled like a teenager’s laundry hamper. None the less, I peddled through and made it the 13 miles, but not without the encouragement from my fellow riders. They kept me going, and I imagine I kept them going as well. I mean, how often do you get passed by a giant green alien on a bicycle?
At my finish, Clutch was ready to tackle the final leg of the triathlon; the daunting 5K run. Now, I didn’t get a chance to see Clutch run since his course took him over several parts of the park, and truthfully, I was using that time to catch my breath from my leg. He’s the runner of the group, and like me, he’s completed more difficult races than this. At this point in the morning though, the weather is starting to warm up like the pot of water at a crawfish boil. Early on it felt nice, but by this point, it was downright balmy.
After about twenty minutes, Diesel and I make our way to the finish line to meet our favorite running bear. Yes, twenty minutes! Papa Bear Clutch was running as if there was a honey pot at the finish! Like Diesel and I, he crossed the finish line in a heap of exhaustion.
We’d officially done it! This group of tons of mascot fun managed to do what several had doubted, and we finished a triathlon in right at two hours! We couldn’t have done it without the help of each of our respective teams, race organizers, support staffs, but most of all, the fans. You guys who were out there with us pushing us forward made a difference in keeping us going, one stroke, pedal or stride at a time.
As I mentioned earlier, if you haven’t had a chance to visit our team page, please go to https://my.reason2race.com/event/cypresstriathlonbbbstx. If you have the means to donate, please do. However, if you don’t, I would encourage you to consider becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister. It’s a great organization that does a lot of good work.
Until next time, I’ll see you at the ballpark cheering on our Astros!
By Maren Angus, special to Mission Control
Anaheim, CA – In a sea of red on Monday night in Anaheim, fans could see a spot of orange behind the Houston dugout. The spot couldn’t be missed, not just because of the two people wearing bright orange Correa shirts, but the huge smiles on their faces.
Jeff and Suzie Berg are members of the Lancaster JetHawks Booster Club and sponsor players on the team, the Astros’ Advanced-A affiliate in Lancaster, California. The first player they sponsored? A young baseball player named Carlos Correa.
The Bergs met Correa at a team dinner hosted by the Booster Club before the start of the 2014 season, when Correa was 19 years old.
“We were having a team dinner and everybody was picking players,” said Correa. “I crossed paths with them and they asked if they could be my sponsors and I told them yes, of course.”
The Bergs sponsored Correa for the duration of his time in Lancaster and became what they call his “aunt and uncle.”
“We run errands for them and are there for support,” said Suzie. “We cheer them on and have them over for holidays because they are alone.”
After the Bergs began sponsoring Correa, they got in touch with his family in Puerto Rico. They wanted to tell them who they were and that they would be looking out for Carlos.
“They helped me a lot when I was there. There’s not much to do in Lancaster, so it was nice having a house to go to and eat or just talk,” said Correa. “It’s a long season and that year I got hurt. They took care of me and I will always be thankful for that.”
This time last year, the Correas and Bergs met for the first time.
“Carlos’ mom, dad, brother, little sister and grandmother came to visit. They had traveled all day to get there (Lancaster) and we took them out to dinner,” said Suzie. “By the time dinner was over, it was signed, sealed and delivered that we were doing our 30th anniversary in Puerto Rico. In January and February, we stayed with his family in Puerto Rico.”
When the Bergs arrived in Puerto Rico, they really didn’t know what to expect. All they knew of Correa was that he played Advanced-A ball in Lancaster. Imagine the shock on their faces when they saw Correa’s face on a billboard on the side of the freeway.
“We’re looking at them from the single A level going up and for us it’s hard to see how important they are to people coming from the top,” said Suzie.
Correa and the Bergs stay in touch via texts or phone calls about twice a week. Jeff always makes sure he has enough suits and that he is staying healthy.
“They came to watch me play in Fresno and it was really great to see them there,” said Correa, who played with the Astros’ AAA affiliate Fresno Grizzlies from May 12-June 7 before his promotion to the Astros. “They are really great people and it’s always great to be around them.”
On June 8, everything Jeff and Suzie hoped would happen with Correa came true. He made his Major League debut and on Monday they watched the 20-year-old run out of the Astros’ dugout onto a Major League field.
“It’s exciting, when he came out of the dugout and looked and saw us, he had a big smile on his face,” said Jeff. “It was worth everything just to see the huge smile on his face.”
Hi there and welcome back to Mission Control! As promised, we’re going to be bringing you some fun, quick Q&As with some of our newer players so you can get to know them a little better off the field. Our next subject is Astros rookie outfielder Preston Tucker, not to be confused with this Preston Tucker. The 24-year old left-handed slugger grew up in Tampa, Florida, as a Devil Rays fan and graduated from Plant High School in Tampa. The University of Florida graduate made his MLB debut with the Astros on May 7 and has made quite an impression since then. In his first game at the Angels, he singled to right for a game-tying RBI in the 9th inning for his first MLB hit (the Astros went on to win the game 3-2).
In 14 games and 47 plate appearances since his call-up from Fresno, Tucker is batting .341 (14×41) with 2 home runs (both pinch-hit, game-tying home runs — see video below), 4 doubles, 7 RBI, .585 slugging percentage and 1.011 OPS. There’s a reason his nickname is Bam Bam (more on that below).
Now let’s get to know Tucker a little better:
Mission Control: What posters did you have on your wall growing up?
Preston Tucker: I had a Ken Griffey, Jr. poster along with a ton of signed balls and cards, a Chipper Jones poster and a John Elway poster.
MC: As a kid, what players did you love watching?
Tucker: Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jim Edmonds. Left-handed centerfielders. I have to stick to the corners now.
MC: What’s your guilty pleasure song on your phone?
Tucker: No song in particular, but I do have a Taylor Swift station on my phone. Big fan and I know she’s coming to Minute Maid and I’m pretty excited about it. Hopefully she’ll come to a ballgame.
MC: What’s your hidden talent?
Tucker: I used to be pretty good at guitar I played all high school played all through college. Once I got to pro ball I stopped bringing it with me so I’ll have to brush up in the off season.
MC: What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Tucker: Probably Journey, pretty standard. I’m a big country guy but I like signing along to Journey. I’m not good.
MC: What’s the story behind your nickname, “Bam Bam”?
Tucker: It definitely came when I got to pro ball. Still not sure where it started or the story behind it, but I just embraced it and stuck with it.
MC: Favorite ice cream flavor?
Tucker: Mint chocolate chip for sure.
MC: Where is the baseball from your first Major League hit?
Tucker: Sent my first hit home with mom and pops. I’m assuming it’s safe at home somewhere.
MC: Any person, living or dead, who would you want to have dinner with?
Tucker: Other than Taylor Swift?
Thanks for being a good sport, Preston, and keep on mashing those baseballs.
– Amanda Rykoff
By Maren Angus, special to Mission Control
Anaheim, CA – It’s been a whirlwind 24 hours with little sleep for Preston Tucker and his family.
The Astros outfielder went from Triple-A Fresno on Wednesday to the starting lineup against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday to first Major League hit and RBI that tied the game in the 9th inning.
“It’s a special night for him,” said Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch. “I’m not sure you draw it up any better for him. The guys were excited for him and welcomed him to the big leagues after the game. A big hat tip to him for competing tonight.”
Tucker, a seventh round draft pick out of the University of Florida in 2012, found out he’d been promoted to the Astros from Triple-A Fresno on Wednesday. One day later, he was in the starting lineup for his Major League debut against the Angels, batting eighth and playing left field.
Tucker was 0-2 with a walk when he stepped up to the plate in the top of the ninth inning against Angels closer Huston Street. With two runners on base, Tucker, who was looking fastball, ended up taking a changeup off Street to right field, scoring Robbie Grossman to tie the game at 2-2.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Tucker on getting his first hit and RBI. “I don’t know if it’s set in yet.”
Playing on a new field in a different city didn’t seem to affect Tucker. He said he was fine in the box but was a little nervous out in the field.
“I was pretty relaxed during the game. Going into the game there was a lot more nerves but once I got to the locker room I got into my routine again and I felt pretty comfortable.”
Making a big league debut only happens once and Tucker’s immediate family, girlfriend and high school baseball coach weren’t going to miss it, even on such short notice and with 3000 miles to travel from Florida to Anaheim.
“It’s always a thrill to come out and see your son put on a Major League uniform for the first time,” said Tucker’s father Mike. “It’s something he has been looking forward to for many many years and it’s exciting to be able to bring the whole family out here.”
The Tucker crew — dad, girlfriend, brother Kyle, sister Hannah, mother Lisa Fernandez and Plant (FL) High School baseball coach Dennis Braun — had one hour to pack and head to the airport to make the trip to Southern California.
“He called us and within five minutes we were making arrangements for the trip,” said Mike.
Tucker’s girlfriend Morgan Pirkle packed so quickly she didn’t pack a jacket, leaving her unprepared for the cool Southern California night. No matter, this was a once in a lifetime moment.
Everything happened so fast for the family to make it to the stadium on time for batting practice but the experience is something that Preston’s younger brother, Kyle, has been anxiously waiting to see.
“I’ve been watching him play throughout his life but getting to see him play at the Major League level is something I know he’ll never forget but we’ll never forget either,” said Kyle.
Before the game, Tucker met with manager A.J. Hinch. During that meeting Hinch reminded the rookie to take a deep breath and take it all in.
“There’s only one first day. Enjoy it, take a deep breath and take in as much as you can,” said Hinch. “It’s exciting to reward a guy for getting off to a good start. He’s done everything he’s needed to do to become a real option for us.”
Tucker, 24, was hitting .320 and led all of minor league baseball with 10 HR and 32 RBI in 25 games for Fresno this season. Tucker posted a .378 on-base percentage and a 1.028 OPS.
Starting Thursday night’s game was Hinch’s plan when the team called him up. It’s his way to allow a young player making his debut to get the jitters out and get into the flow of a Major League game.
“There’s opportunities and at bats to be taken here,” said Hinch about Tucker’s playing time. “A lot depends on how he presents himself. If he can help us win, then he will get the opportunity.”
With a game-tying RBI single in a road game against a division rival, that’s a pretty good start.
It’s been a little busy around here lately with the whole 10-game winning streak and being in first place, so we didn’t have a chance to share this extra special guest post until now. And it’s worth the wait, trust me. You know Orbit’s antics on the field make him an MVM (Most Valuable Mascot), but he’s also pretty awesome off the field. Two weeks ago, while in the middle of a homestand, Orbit teamed up with his mascot buddies Clutch of the Rockets and Diesel of the Dynamo, to ride the BP MS150 bike ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis. And what’s more, he had actually completed the entire 180 mile course BY HIMSELF last year. Yeah, he’s awesome. But enough from me yammering on. Here’s our favorite mascot and yours in his own words talking about this unique experience. Take it away, Orbit!
Hey Astros fans! Yes, it’s really me, your favorite mascot. Welcome to my first foray into the blogosphere. I’ve trained these fuzzy fingers of mine this off-season, and at the request of my esteemed co-worker and social media guru, Amanda Rykoff, I’ve decided to take my talents to more than 140 characters of semi-hilarity.
In case you missed it, on April 18-19, I teamed up with my mascot buddies, Clutch of the Houston Rockets, and Diesel of the Houston Dynamo, to ride the BP MS150. The BP MS150 is a two-day, 180 mile bike ride from Houston to Austin. Yes, you read that right. 180 miles of tubby mascots on bicycles, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds!
Last year I jumped in the deep end of the pool with both feet and rode the entire ride by myself. Probably a little ambitious, but if you’ve ever seen my antics on the field, you know that I’m not one to shy away from many things!
As fun of an experience as it was, I walked like a baby giraffe for a week. So when Clutch and Diesel offered to team up with me to ride this year, I welcomed the help! The idea was for each of us to split the ride into thirds each day, making for a more mascot-friendly ride. Now, I may consider myself an adopted Texan, but this heat is still no joke and made me consider strapping an AC unit to my bike.
Before the ride, I attended the BP MS150 Expo on Friday. The Expo provides an opportunity for participants to pick up their rider packers, catch up with friends or check out some new gear for the ride. It’s open to all who want to ride – including green aliens, bears and foxes. I saw some cool stuff, but I opted to stick with my custom Astros jersey. Nothing personal to the vendor selling the jersey, but nobody needed to see this much handsome inside that small of a jersey.
Coincidentally, a few of their other products seemed to be of more interest to me.
While at The Expo, word came down that the first day of the ride had been cancelled due to all of the rain the area had received. As disappointing as this was, me and my mascot crew did not let the decision rain on our bicycle parade. Saturday was out, but Sunday was still a go!
The plan on Sunday was for me to start the ride, tag-in Diesel, and then have Clutch finish the ride into Austin. After the Astros big win on Saturday night over the Angels, Sunday morning came awfully early as me and my spot-rider/resident Astros ticket sales rep extraordinaire, Christian, made the 100 mile trek to La Grange to start day two. Christian rode the entire ride with me last year and agreed to help me out again this year. Spending the better part of 23 hours on a bike next to one another during the 2014 ride made us quite the bros, and I owe a big “Thanks!” to that guy both this year and last. I guess you could say Christian is an honorary Mascot Bro.
We arrived and lined up at the starting line ready to take on our 26 mile leg from La Grange, to the Smithville area. As always, there was excitement in the air and the previous day’s rain didn’t put a damper on the mood of the riders.
While one may argue my belly’s fame only comes in behind Santa, it isn’t exactly ergonomically designed for a normal bike. This necessitates me riding a three wheeling tricycle-like bike. Imagine if a bike and a hand gliding rig had a child….that’s my bike. While comfortable and ideal for coasting down a mountain, it creates some challenges in the Texas hill country, more specifically, going up hills. That being said, it was nothing a moon pie and a supreme athletic prowess couldn’t handle.
The support we’ve received from the MS Society and our fellow riders was nothing short of fantastic. Lots of encouraging words and the occasional odd look made the 26 mile ride a breeze. And of course there were selfies. So. Many. Selfies. I cruised into La Grange around 10:30am and tagged in my buddy Diesel.
It wasn’t a moment too soon, as I was able to jump in my van and cruise back to Houston in time for our 1:10pm game….and a game of Jenga with a few “friends”.
Meanwhile, Diesel and Clutch moved on without me and finished the big ride and successfully completed our 80 mile mascot bicycle adventure.
The ride was challenging and a lot of fun, but I’m most proud of the awareness we were able to bring to the MS Society, as well as raising money on their behalf. If you’d still like to donate to our team, it’s not too late! You can go to our mascot team page here and donate!
Be on the lookout for more joint amazing mascot feats in the coming months and I’ll see you at the ballpark!
The story behind this post started last month when we had a social media contest for fan-created movie posters to promote the Jose Altuve documentary Big Dreams: The Jose Altuve Story. One of our winners was Sophi Mora, a high school senior in Austin who is a huge Altuve fan and runs an Instagram page devoted to Jose Altuve edits. Here is the poster she created:
Because Sophi lives in Austin, she could not attend the movie premiere in Houston so we invited her to come to a game and meet Jose and take a picture with him. Of course she was coming to tonight’s game against the Mariners which just happens to be Jose Altuve Bobblehead night (she says it was a coincidence). It’s also her prom night in Austin at Bowie High School. Which she’s missing. Because she’s at Minute Maid Park to root on her Astros and her favorite player.
Why is Jose Altuve Sophi’s favorite player?
“I used to play softball and I played second base,” Sophi said. “My coaches didn’t believe in me and told me I wasn’t good enough so I know how it feels. He’s an inspiration to me.”
So what’s a girl to do when she is going to meet her inspiration and favorite player on prom night? Make a corsage and boutonnière in Astros blue and orange and bring them to the ballpark, of course. Which is what Sophi did. And when Altuve came over to say hello and sign autographs and take a photo, he ended up getting a big surprise — being asked to prom by Sophi, who presented Jose with the custom-made boutonnière.
Jose graciously accepted and then signed Sophi’s Big Dreams poster!
Now let’s make it the best prom night ever and get 9 straight wins and 10 straight multi-hit games for Jose.
– Amanda Rykoff
Hi fans and welcome back to Mission Control! It’s been a while so in case you’ve forgotten what’s going on here, we’ve got a quick recap for you. This is the official team blog where you’ll find photos, fun stories and quick hits, bringing you the stories behind the stories and the explanations behind the tweets. We’re excited for a great season of Astros baseball in 2015 and glad you’re along for the ride.
Today we’re introducing a new feature we will be bringing you on a weekly basis throughout the season — the Best of Astros Social Media. Did you miss a great post from us on Instagram (@astrosbaseball) or Twitter (@astros)? You’ll find it here.
Last week was quite a week here at Minute Maid Park where we opened up the season at home against Cleveland and then visited the Rangers for a quick three game weekend series. We hosted the division rival A’s for three games before an off day today. Which, coincidentally, is why I’ve got a little bit of time to bring you the best of the past week!
So here you go — the best Astros Social from April 6-April 15.
Let’s start with the best of Opening Day, a fantastic 2-0 win over Cleveland.We introduced this beautiful new lineup graphic:
National Anthem with extra giant American Flag:
Orbit introduced his new Astros flag:
Hall of Famer Craig Biggio threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Jose Altuve:
We introduced the Methodist Hospital Space Race, featuring Apollo (White), Squeeze (Orange) and Doc Rocket (Blue). The Space Race will run every Astros home game after the 5th Inning.
Emily West honored America and our servicemen and women with a fantastic rendition of God Bless America:
And we had our first Handshakes and High Fives of the season!
Before our second game of the season, we had fun with the Twitter Mirror:
And we had our first $1 Hot Dog Wednesday at Minute Maid Park:
On Thursday, April 9, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Astrodome:
In Arlington, Colby Rasmus connected for his first #ColbyJack of the season:
And George Springer made the catch of the year when he robbed a game-winning grand slam from Leonys Martin. Let’s watch that again. And if you haven’t voted for Springer’s catch as ESPN’s Best of the Best, why not?
Tony Sipp, who gave up the long fly ball, expressed his gratitude to Springer with one of the best hugs of all time:
Back at Minute Maid Park against the A’s, we had an amazing sunset:
Orbit was up to his old tricks, digging for gold and finding Josh Reddick’s tidy whities:
For the full video of Orbit’s adventures with Reddick:
The Astros joined MLB in honoring the legendary Jackie Robinson on April 15:
And of course we celebrated National High Five Day:
See you at the ballpark this weekend for our 50th Anniversary Celebration! And see you back here on Mission Control soon.
Greetings from not-so-sunny Kissimmee, Florida, spring home of the Astros, where it was a chilly 69 degrees at first pitch today. Many fans in the crowd of 4,444 in attendance had to wear hoodies. The horror! Though the game ended up a 9-4 loss to the Yankees, the Astros enjoyed many bright spots, including a three-run first inning featuring five consecutive hits highlighted by a leadoff hustle infield single by Jose Altuve and a booming two-run double by Chris Carter. Astros pitchers Dallas Keuchel, Luke Gregerson, Chad Qualls, Josh Fields and Tony Sipp combined for 6 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 ER vs. the Yankees. But enough about the game, here are some of the photos I took around the ballpark before and during the game. Enjoy!
Hank Conger took batting practice before his first Spring Training game as a member of the Astros.
National Anthem time. The skies were gray but we didn’t get any rain.
Manager A.J. Hinch settles in next to the on deck circle before the game.
Bench coach Trey Hillman gives “Play Ball” girl Macy a pep talk. Macy came all the way from England and delivered the “play ball” announcement in an utterly charming British accent.
First pitch from Dallas Keuchel to Didi Gregorius.
2014 Al Batting Champion Jose Altuve led off the game with – what else? — a hustle infield single:
Altuve on deck before his next at bat.
Chris Carter waits on deck with George Springer at the plate.
Jed Lowrie on deck before his third inning triple in his first Spring Training game of the season.
And Elvis I mean Orbit performed Hound Dog on the Astros home dugout:
Full video of Orbit’s awesome Hound Dog performance:
We found these fans horsing around in the stands:
And of course during the 7th Inning Stretch, Orbit visited the crowd and took selfies.
Thanks again for stopping by at Mission Control. See you next time!
Greetings from sunny Kissimmee, Florida, spring home of the Astros. We kicked off our Spring Training game schedule with a 6-3 win over the Phillies at Osceola County Stadium, highlighted by Collin McHugh’s sharp two innings of work and home runs from Luis Valbuena, Robbie Grossman and Marwin Gonzalez. But you can read all about the game in the recap. Here are some of the photos I took around the ballpark before and during the game. Enjoy!
The field looked fantastic on a beautiful 82 degree day.
Of course there were people eager to get autographs from the 2014 AL Batting Champion.
Collin McHugh got ready to take the bump in the Spring Training opener.
Orbit posed for photos with fans.
George Springer’s dad, George Jr., was thrilled to meet Astros Legend Nolan Ryan. “When I pitched, I used to pretend to be Nolan Ryan,” Springer told me after he was introduced to the Hall of Famer before today’s game. Springer and his wife Marie came down from Connecticut to escape the snow and see their son’s 2015 Spring Training debut.
Orbit worked on his tan.
Max Stassi warmed up before his start at catcher.
Time for the National Anthem!
Our “Play Ball!” Kid and his dad were thrilled to be there
George Springer on deck before his first Spring Training at bat of the year.
Chris Carter loomed large in the on deck circle
And finally, a mascot dance-off, starring Orbit:
Thanks again for stopping by at Mission Control. See you next time!