#AstrosFanDay 2014: Scenes from the final Astros home game of the season

Jose Altuve gets a curtain call in the 9th inning of the final home game of the season

Jose Altuve gets a curtain call in the 9th inning of the final home game of the season

Today was the final home game of the 2014 season and wow it was a doozy. We had tons of special guests, fan surprises on Fan Appreciation Day and a great 8-3 win over the Mariners. The Astros finished the season 38-43 at Minute Maid Park, the most since 2010 (42). And with just one more win in our next six final games, we will hit 70 wins.

On the social media side, we were busy posting photos and highlights from today at the ballpark, but there was just so much good stuff, I wanted to do a blog post for Mission Control which includes some of the photos and videos we didn’t have the time or the room to share elsewhere. I mean, if you’re going to have a team behind the scenes blog, that’s what it’s here for!

The day started with the annual Season Ticket Holder photo day. This is a special event for our full season ticket holders. Here are some of the photo highlights:

STH Springer with mom and kid photo Jose with countdown fans STH day STH Springer and Presley with kid and poster

 

And OF COURSE there were selfies:

STH Selfies with Fowler and Carter

STH selfie with Tropeano

Then Orbit danced with Logan Morrison to ‘N Sync’s Bye Bye Bye:

 

Then we had the ceremonial first pitches:

Brad Piel, off-duty HPD officer retiring after 37 years of work with the Astros:

Brad Piel Biggio Orbit first pitch

Pat Beverley, Houston Rockets point guard and University of Arkansas alum, here with his Razorbacks buddy, Dallas Keuchel:

Keuchel and Pat Beverley

Marie “Red” Mahoney, the only Houston native to play in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Red turned 90 years old on Sunday and celebrated at Minute Maid Park with over 40 friends and family who came in from all over the country. Her first pitch was a surprise to her!

Red got escorted off the field by Orbit, who was of course nothing but a gentle-alien:

Red Mahoney escorted by Orbit

And Jake Marisnick hit his second three-run home run in the 7th inning in as many games, driving in Fowler and Presley both times!

Marisnick and Fowler high five

 

Then finally there was Jose Altuve. Altuve had hits number 219 and 220 in his final home game this season, scored two runs and drove in a run for good measure. Hit number 219 was the most by an MLB second baseman since 1937. Speaking of good MLB second baseman, Mariners’ second baseman Robbie Cano gave Altuve some love at second after his double for hit number 219:

Altuve and Cano

And here’s hit number 220, his final hit at Minute Maid Park of the 2014 season. Altuve batted .364 at home this season and 116 of his 220 hits came in front of the home crowd.

Altuve 220 photo

Interim manager Tom Lawless smartly pulled Altuve from the game with two outs in the top of the 9th and the Astros leading 8-3 so Altuve could get a proper ovation from the crowd. And this is what happened. Watch:

Thank you, fans, for all your support this season. And thanks for stopping by Mission Control. We hope you’ve enjoyed it and we’ll continue to bring you content during the off-season.

I’m making the trip to New York so I will have some fun end of season stuff as well.

- Amanda
@amandarykoff

Astros Last Stand: 2014 Final Homestand Preview

Hi again and welcome back to Astros Mission Control. We’ve been a little busy with the whole Jose Altuve heading towards history thing, so sorry for not posting the final homestand preview post sooner. But here we are. It’s the final Astros homestand of the 2014 season. Can you believe how quickly the season has flown by?

 

The countdown to Astros history continues at Minute Maid Park

The countdown to Astros history continues at Minute Maid Park

With just six home games left, come out and join us at Minute Maid Park this week. Here’s what we’ve got in store for you:

Tuesday, September 16 – 7:10 p.m. vs. Cleveland

Altuve Watch: After another multi-hit game (his fifth in a row and 63rd this season), JOSE ALTUVE IS AT 209 HITS, JUST ONE AWAY FROM TYING THE FRANCHISE RECORD FOR HITS IN A SINGLE SEASON AND TWO AWAY FROM BREAKING IT. COME OUT AND WITNESS HISTORY. 

Bun B First Pitch: Houston rapper and Astros supporter Bun B will throw out the first pitch before Tuesday’s game to promote he new, limited edition Astros cap he designed with artists from New Era. The cap will be exclusively available at Academy Sports + Outdoors retail locations and at the Astros team stores in Minute Maid Park starting Tuesday. (You can order online at Academy.com or call the Astros team store at 713-259-0977 if you’re not in the Houston area).

Bun B models the limited edition Astros cap he helped design

Bun B models the limited edition Astros cap he helped design

In recognition of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the Astros will also honor the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Family Alliance, which provides emotional, educational and practical support to families of children with cancer.

Wednesday, September 17 – 7:10 p.m. vs. Cleveland

On Wednesday, Jason Castro will be honored as the 2014 Astros Roberto Clemente Award nominee, presented by Chevrolet, during a pregame ceremony. Jason and his wife, Maris, have been active in promoting literacy in HISD schools through “Castro’s Kids.” As part of the ceremony, Castro will be awarded $7,500 from Chevrolet to donate to the charity of his choice. He has selected the Astros Foundation, the official team charity, to receive this donation.

The Astros will also honor the Ronald McDonald House Houston, which offers a home away from home providing care, compassion and hope to families with seriously ill children being treated in Texas Medical Center member institutions.

Thursday, September 18 – 7:10 p.m. vs. Cleveland

Long-time radio broadcaster and the newest inductee to the Astros Media Wall of Honor Alex Trevino will be honored in a pregame ceremony on the field on Thursday, September 18.

On Thursday, the United States Air Force celebrates its 67th birthday. In recognition of this day, the Astros welcome Lieutenant Colonel Rolando “Rolo” Aguilar, who recently retired from the U.S. Air Force, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Lt. Col. Aguilar was an F-16 pilot who provided an armed air escort for Air Force One as it carried President George W. Bush over the Texas and Louisiana skies on September 11, 2001. Cold Springs-Oakhurst Air Force Junior ROTC will be presenting the nation’s colors before Thursday’s game.

$1 Hot Dog Thursday: It’s our last Thursday home game of the season! Come on out for the last Dollar Hot Dog Thursday of the season, where fans can purchase an unlimited number of Nolan Ryan Beef hot dogs at $1 each while supplies last (limit of four per person per concession visit). Look for specially marked concessions around the ballpark.

Friday, September 19 – 7:10 p.m. vs. Seattle

Friday Night Fireworks: our last Big and Bright Friday Night of 2014 features a Friday Night Fireworks show, presented by Marathon Oil Corporation, following the conclusion of the game vs. the Mariners.  This week’s show features a “2014 chart toppers” themed fireworks display.

The Astros Foundation will be selling special mystery grab bags, featuring baseballs and jerseys signed by current and former Astros players and coaches. Mystery grab bags will be sold at the Community Clubhouse located near section 111 on Friday, September 19, from the time gates open until the end of the 4th inning. All proceeds from mystery grab bag sales benefit the Astros Foundation.

Beer lovers? We’ve got you covered with two great options. Every Friday from 4:30-6:00 p.m. is St. Arnold Happy Hour, featuring $5, 12-ounce beers at the St. Arnold’s Bar in left field (behind Section 105). Also on Fridays, the Budweiser Patio behind center field serves Budweiser Day Fresh Draught, kegged and delivered the same day.

Saturday, September 20 – 6:10 p.m. vs. Seattle

Fiestas Patrias Street Fest: On Saturday, the Astros will help celebrate Fiestas Patrias with a pregame street fest, presented by United Airlines, before the Astros host the Seattle Mariners at 6:10pm. Join us on the Plaza on Crawford Street from 3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. to pay homage to Mexico’s culture and traditions, complete with live music by La Orquesta Salmerum, an autograph session with Astros legend Jose Cruz and Spanish radio broadcasters Alex Trevino and Francisco Romero, traditional Latin dance lessons, food trucks and a special Q&A session with Juan Pablo from ABC’s The Bachelor. THE STREET FEST IS FREE FOR EVERYONE; NO GAME TICKET IS REQUIRED.

The Astros players will also be sporting their Los Astros jerseys during the game in honor of the special day.

Get your #Altuve200 ticket package at Astros.com/Altuve

Get your #Altuve200 ticket package at Astros.com/Altuve

#Altuve200: In honor of Jose Altuve’s 200th hit, fans can purchase a special “200 hits” ticket package, which includes a commemorative 200 Hits T-shirt. The Astros and Minute Maid will also recognize Altuve’s monumental achievement in a pregame ceremony. Fans can visit www.astros.com/Altuve to learn more about the “200 hits” ticket package.

Sunday, September 21 – 1:10 p.m. vs. Seattle

Fan Appreciation Day: Sunday, September 21 is Fan Appreciation Day at Minute Maid Park. To thank our amazing fans, the Astros will be giving away prizes every half inning throughout the game to randomly selected fans.

Season Ticket Holder Photo Day, where Season Ticket Holders will have the opportunity to take photos with Astros players, will also take place from 10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. on the warning track prior to Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. game vs. the Mariners.

Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley will throw out a ceremonial first pitch on Sunday. Beverley attended his very first Astros game this season in support of his fellow Razorback, Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel.

Marie “Red” Mahoney, an outfielder who played in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, will also be throwing out a ceremonial first pitch on her 90th birthday.

The Astros final giveaway of the 2014 season will be a Team Poster for 10,000 fans, courtesy of the Houston Chronicle.

Kroger Family Sunday: Bring the whole family out to Minute Maid Park this Sunday for only $70 with a Kroger Family 4-Pack (ticket package includes 4 View Deck II tickets; 4 hot dogs; 4 sodas, Lot C parking pass). For tickets and more information, click here.

Every Sunday is also a Family Sunday presented by Kroger. Kids 14 and under can run the bases after each Sunday game. (And don’t forget Astros Buddies get front-of-the-line access!)

Kids run the bases every Sunday at MMP!

Kids run the bases every Sunday at MMP!

We look forward to seeing you at Minute Maid Park this week!

- Amanda
@amandarykoff

Javier Bracamonte Makes This Astros Fan’s Dream Come True

Manny Diaz really wants a Bracamonte jersey

Manny Diaz really wants a Bracamonte jersey

Manny Diaz is a die-hard Astros fan in the Seattle area. He attends every Astros-Mariners game and always represents at Safeco Field. He is a big fan of our longtime bullpen catcher, Javier Bracamonte.

Bracamonte is a great guy — he throws Astros batting practice, works with the pitchers in the bullpen and often has a pre-game catch with kids in the stands when the Astros are on the road. It’s no wonder Manny is a fan.

Manny began a campaign last year, asking Bracamonte for a jersey. He brought a sign to every game. “Bracamonte. Can I have your jersey?” He campaigned on Twitter using the hashtag #BracamonteJerseyForManny.

We noticed him. Bracamonte noticed him. But still no jersey for Manny.

The two became friendly and Bracamonte always looked forward to seeing him during the trips to Safeco. Earlier this season, I talked to Bracamonte about Manny and he told me he wanted to figure out a way to make Manny’s dream come true.

Bracamonte talked to our clubhouse manager and it turns out that there was an extra batting practice jersey from last season that Bracamonte could give Manny.

Tonight, before the Astros’ final game at Safeco Field this season, this happened:

Manny sees Bracamonte heading out to see him

Manny sees Bracamonte heading out to see him

 

The two say hello

Bracamonte delivers the jersey

Manny shows off his new prized possession

Manny shows off his new prized possession

 

HUGS

HUGS

 

It really happened!

It really happened!

Happiness is a Javier Bracamonte batting practice jersey.

Yes, Manny, dreams do come true!

Yes, Manny, dreams do come true!

 

Thanks for your support, Manny. We’ll see you next season at Safeco. And we know which jersey you’ll be wearing.

-Amanda
@amandarykoff

 

 

Covering the Bases: Q&A With Astros OF Jake Marisnick

 

Jake Marisnick

Astros OF Jake Marisnick

Hi there and welcome back to Mission Control. 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. First up is Jake Marisnick. The 24-year old who grew up in California joined the team at the trade deadline from the Marlins. He’s played all three outfield positions since joining the Astros and has made it look easy.

Mission Control: Who were the players you really loved watching in any sport?

Jake Marisnick: Growing up, I liked watching Torii Hunter in baseball. In football, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. I liked watching them growing up and watching how they went about their business and seeing how they controlled the football game. It was awesome watching them.

MC: At what point did you make that decision to go from football to focus on baseball?

JM: I think it was after my junior year. I had a pretty good year in both sports, football and baseball, and I kind of had a sit-down with my parents and talked about what I wanted to do in the future and I told them I wanted to play baseball for a living. They said alright. That was probably one of the harder conversations I’ve had with my football coach, telling him I was going to be out my senior year.

MC: What’s your guilty pleasure song on your iPod?

JM: There are a lot of them. Probably Taylor Swift’s “Our Song” is one of them. But that’s obvious from my walk out song being [Come & Get It by] Selena Gomez.


MC: What’s your hidden talent? A secret talent that you do off the field or that people don’t know that you can do?

JM: Maybe that I’m good at karaoke. I love karaoke. I wouldn’t say I’m good at it, but I love to do it.

MC: And what is your go-to karaoke song?

JM: “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness.

MC: What’s your nickname?

JM: Big Fudge.

MC: And what is the story behind this nickname?

JM: I don’t know…it just came last spring training with the Marlins when I was on the DL. I was eating everything in sight. They said I put on a ton of weight, but I really put on maybe 10 or 15 pounds. And they thought it was hilarious so Big Fudge came about. It’s just kind of what they went with.

Ask Jake Marisnick why fudge  is part of his nickname

Ask Jake Marisnick why fudge is part of his nickname

 MC: Are you a chocolate guy?

JM: Yup. I’ll eat pretty much anything.

 MC: Salty, crunchy, sweet, or…?

JM: Doesn’t matter; I think that’s where it came from. I’ll eat anything you put in front of me. And during that time, I was.

MC: What were you looking forward to about this new challenge of joining a new team?

JM: I’m a team guy. I love when the team has success. It’s exciting starting from where we’re at, being able to work as a team and work our way back up and get to the top where we all want to be, and doing that with a young, core group of guys.

 

- Amanda
@amandarykoff

Orbit went Trout-fishing. It went horribly and hilariously wrong.

Oh Orbit, what have you done now?

Oh Orbit, what have you done now?

Just because the Rangers and J.P. Arencibia have left town doesn’t mean Orbit can’t get back to his mascot shenanigans. As we know, Orbit’s having an MVP mascotting season this year. Every game he brings his A game, performing at Hall of Fame levels. Fans outside of Houston are starting to learn the genius and wonder that is Orbit.

His antics made the Top 10 MLB Moments of August at number 3, including this gem: “Though Baseball-Reference doesn’t yet award Mascot WAR, we can only assume that this is the greatest single-month performance for a mascot of all-time.”

We’re proud of you, Orbit. You’re our favorite fuzzy green alien. 

Last night for the first of a quick two-game series against the Angels, Orbit’s genius came to play once again. As the Angels warmed up on the field, Orbit decided to go Trout-fishing — with Angels’ superstar all-everything center fielder Mike Trout. Complete with an Orbit-sized fisherman’s vest, hat and fishing pole. 

Orbit goes Trout-fishing before the game

Orbit goes Trout-fishing before the game

Yes, it was as hilarious as it sounds and as the photo above indicates. Here’s the full video of the hilarity and awesomeness that ensued when Orbit broke out the fishing rod on Mike Trout:

 

How great was that? Words can’t even put it adequately. This is next-level stuff. Kudos to Orbit for continuing to bring it each and every game during this MVP season. And a big shoutout to Mike Trout for playing along and being great mascot bait. We all fell for this hook, line and sinker.

-Amanda
@amandarykoff

Astros Family Field Day 2014: With Photos of Adorable Kids!

Astros Family Field Day 2014

Astros Family Field Day 2014

I’m pretty sure there’s a rule that every baseball player’s child is adorable. And the Astros’ kids are no exception. Sunday was the annual Astros Family Field Day. Each year on one Sunday, the Astros Foundation invites the players and their families to join them on the outfield at Minute Maid Park to basically just run around and be adorable. Mission accomplished.

Families and players who were out on the field today included Dexter Fowler, Jesse Crain, Chad Qualls, Carlos Corporan, Matt Albers, Marwin Gonzalez, Marc Krauss, Alex Presley, Collin McHugh, bullpen catchers Javier Bracamonte and Carlos Munoz, strength and conditioning coach Jake Beiting, head athletic trainer Nate Lucero and clubhouse manager Carl Schneider.

Here are some of my favorite photos from today. I had so many to choose from and they were all fantastic. I wish I could share them all.

Here are little Tiffany Corporan and Ava Krauss. I mean, come on.

Tiffany Corporan and Ava Krauss. Come on!

Tiffany Corporan and Ava Krauss

Bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte pitching to his daughter Jaelyn:

Javier Bracamonte pitching to his daughter Jaelyn

Javier Bracamonte pitching to his daughter Jaelyn

Marwin and Noel Gonzalez enjoy some father-daughter silliness:

Marwin Gonzalez has some fun with his daughter

Marwin Gonzalez has some fun with his daughter Eliana

The beautiful Fowler family — Dexter, Aliya and their daughter Naya Iman with grandma (Dexter’s mother who is in town from Atlanta).

The beautiful Fowler family

The beautiful Fowler family

Marwin Gonzalez’s daughter Eliana is just too cute.

Getting ready to play ball

Getting ready to play ball

Jesse Crain and his family relax on the outfield grass:

Jesse Crain and family

Jesse Crain and family

Chad Qualls has a game of catch with his son at the warning track:

Chad Qualls pitches to his son

Chad Qualls pitches to his son

Marc and Ava Krauss — look at her blue and orange Astros bow!

Marc and Ava Krauss

Marc and Ava Krauss

Naya’s learning how to crawl on the grass so her daddy wanted to give her some pointers:

Crawling on the grass...

Crawling on the grass…

Getting some good hacks in…

Carlos Munoz's daughter takes some hacks.

Carlos Munoz’s daughter takes some hacks.

Baby Fowler and Baby Qualls just hanging out…

Baby Fowler and Baby Qualls!

Baby Fowler and Baby Qualls!

Can’t get any better than that. Have a great rest of your holiday weekend!

- Amanda
@amandarykoff

 

The Orbit-J.P. Arencibia Feud Has Ended…With a Hug

What was happening here in the Orbit-J.P. Arencibia feud?

What was happening here in the Orbit-J.P. Arencibia feud?

If you’re reading this, you already know about the long-running, hilarious frenemy troll rivalry between our amazing mascot Orbit and the Rangers’ J.P. Arencibia. (If for some reason, you’re not, this post will bring you up to speed).

Heading into the third game of the final Lone Star Series in Houston, we all wondered what would be next in this ongoing saga. More signs? More photoshops? Hand to hand combat?

It turns out that Orbit has something else in mind before Saturday night’s game — an intervention.

Orbit waits for an intervention on the field

Orbit waits for an intervention on the field

Orbit had a seat saved for Arencibia, but would the Rangers’ catcher be amenable? Orbit waited patiently….

A truce is reached!

A truce is reached!

And after a few words were exchanged, it was time for the bros to hug it out. All is well.

Hug it out, bros!

Hug it out, bros!

Here’s video of tonight’s intervention.

Video:

 

Thanks to J.P. Arencibia for being such a good sport about this the entire time. Gotta love baseball. And mascots.

Now that Orbit and Arencibia have made peace, who will Orbit’s next victim be? Stay tuned.

- Amanda
@amandarykoff

Orbit vs. J.P. Arencibia: That’s How We Troll

So much to unpack here.

So much to unpack here.

It’s the Lone Star Series in Houston, which means that it’s time once again for another installment of your favorite mascot trolling adventure — Orbit vs. J.P. Arencibia.

For those of you just joining us, it started earlier this month at the last Lone Star Series at Minute Maid Park. The Rangers’ catcher/first baseman poked Orbit in the asteroids with a bat and Orbit retaliated with signs and various other mascot-related shenanigans. Here’s the full hilarious blog post with all the details. If you don’t have the time or energy to click on the link, here are some highlights in photo collage form.

Three signs for three times the on-deck fun!

Three signs for three times the on-deck fun!

The rivalry continued when Orbit challenged Arencibia to the #IceBucketChallenge for ALS awareness….and the Rangers catcher responded! Here’s the full story including video.

In the weeks leading up to this final Lone Star Series weekend showdown in Houston, we knew that the two would be plotting their next steps. What would the weekend have in store?

On Friday, before the second game of the series, J.P. Arencibia tweeted the following:

 

Ok fine. Just some good-natured Twitter taunting with a bad photoshop. No harm, no foul, right? Wrong. The same image of Orbit in a Cowboys jersey appeared on the underground level at Minute Maid Park where both clubhouses are located. And then on Orbit’s door. Oh it was on.

 

How would Orbit exact his revenge? Well you know Orbit has one motto: go big or go home. During Rangers batting practice, when J.P. Arencibia stepped into the cage, this happened on El Grande (the giant scoreboard in center field).

 

Yes, that is J.P. Arencibia’s face photoshopped into a Texans cheerleader’s face. Here’s a slightly better look at the visual:

Arencibia had to take a break from his batting because he was laughing so hard. Well played, Orbit.

During pre-game stretches, Orbit brought out a poster of the visual and Arencibia signed it, “To Orbit, with love, J.P. Arencibia.” That’s good stuff right there.

Orbit with both photoshop masterpieces

Orbit with both photoshop masterpieces

Here’s full video of the entire episode:

What will tomorrow hold? Stay tuned.

- Amanda
@amandarykoff

Final Houston Lone Star Series Preview: #DefendHouston

Howdy, folks. Welcome back to Mission Control, where we’ve got everything you need to know about our upcoming series at Minute Maid Park. The Astros continue their homestand tonight with the first of a four-game series against our in-state rival Rangers. It’s the final Lone Star Series in Houston this season. The Astros need just two wins to clinch the Silver Boot. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is simple: #DefendHouston.

To get you fired up, here’s the full version of Showdown at the Lone Star Corral. In this Western thriller, our hero Orbit looks to vanquish his Rangers rival and become the new sheriff in town. Watch:

Now here’s the full rundown of the four-game series:

Thursday, August 28 – 7:10 p.m. vs. Rangers

(Pitching matchup: Nick Tepesch vs. Collin McHugh)

$1 Hot Dog Thursday: We’ve only got two home Thursday games left this season (can you believe it?). Come on out tonight for $1 Hot Dogs — look for specially marked $1 Dog concession stands throughout the park.

Slotomania! The “Astros Fans Win with Slotomania Sweepstakes” continue tonight through Sunday. Astros fans will have the opportunity to win a grand prize of $5,000 at each of these four  games! For more information on how to win, please visit http://www.astroswinsloto.com/.

Special food item on the club level: For the Texas series only, we have a new sandwich at the Club Bistro section 224. A carved prime rib sandwich on cheddar jalapeno hoagie with horseradish cream, fried onions and served au jus. Give it a try if you’re here!

Friday, August 29 – 7:10 p.m. vs. Rangers

(Pitching matchup: Scott Baker vs. Brett Oberholtzer)

In honor of the Lone Star rivalry, 10,000 fans will take home a Lone Star Series T-shirt, courtesy of Houston Methodist.

Prior to Friday’s 7:10 p.m. game, Astros Executive Advisor Nolan Ryan will host several Japanese restaurateurs and winners of a Nolan Ryan Beef promotion for a press conference. Yakiniku Den Restaurants, a Japanese-style BBQ restaurant chain headquartered in Osaka, Japan, recently completed a major promotion of Nolan Ryan Beef in their restaurants. The winners of this promotion, along with the restaurant managers, will be traveling to Houston to meet Nolan Ryan and attend Friday night’s ballgame as Ryan’s special guests.

Friday Night Fireworks: Big and Bright Friday Night returns with a postgame Friday Night Fireworks show, presented by Marathon Oil Corporation, following the conclusion of the game vs. the Rangers. This week’s show features a “movie magic” themed fireworks display.

Beer lovers? We’ve got you covered with two great options. Every Friday from 4:30-6:00 p.m. is St. Arnold Happy Hour, featuring $5, 12-ounce beers at the St. Arnold’s Bar in left field (behind Section 105). This Friday we’ve got live music by Samuel Barker. Note that if you’re coming to the ballpark early for Happy Hour, please enter the ballpark through the Left Field Gate. Union Station will be closed for a private event.

Also on Fridays, the Budweiser Patio behind center field serves Budweiser Day Fresh Draught, kegged and delivered the same day.

Saturday, August 30 – 6:10 p.m. vs. Rangers

(Pitching matchup: Mike Mikolas vs. Scott Feldman)

Astros Autograph Session at Texas Bay Area Credit Union with Chris Carter and Jose Cruz: Astros slugger Chris Carter, who was named AL Player of the Week earlier this month, will join Astros legend and Community Outreach Executive Jose Cruz for a free autograph session at Texas Bay Area Credit Union, located at 12611 Fuqua St., Houston, TX 77034 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Players subject to change.

 

Reid and Nolan Ryan

Reid and Nolan Ryan

Reid and Nolan Ryan Bobblehead: The Astros and Rangers share the legacy of one of the greatest baseball families in the country, the Ryan family. Saturday’s giveaway will be a double bobblehead of Nolan and Reid Ryan, inspired by the iconic photo of the two (above) taken during Nolan Ryan’s time as an Astro. The Reid and Nolan bobblehead, presented by Houston Methodist, will be distributed to 10,000 fans.

Reid and Nolan Ryan Bobblehead for 10,000 fans

Reid and Nolan Ryan Bobblehead for 10,000 fans

AUTOGRAPHED BOBBLEHEADS: 50 lucky fans will receive bobbleheads signed by both Reid and Nolan! Here’s a photo of Nolan signing the bobbleheads this week at Minute Maid Park.

Nolan Ryan signs the Reid and Nolan Ryan Bobblehead

 

Saturday is also Chevy Military Appreciation Night at Minute Maid Park. The pregame ceremony will feature a military color guard, national anthem, and presentation of the American flag by 40 volunteers in uniform. Chevy will also be awarding a new home to a member of the military, mortgage-free, on the field before the game. Follow along on social media using the hashtag #ChevySupports.

Sunday, August 31 – 1:10 p.m. vs. Rangers

(Pitching matchup: Nick Martinez vs. Dallas Keuchel)

Kroger Family Sunday: Every Sunday is a Family Sunday presented by Kroger. Kids 14 and under can run the bases after each Sunday game. (And don’t forget Astros Buddies get front-of-the-line access!)

Kids run the bases every Sunday at MMP!

Kids run the bases every Sunday at MMP!

Post-game events on Sunday! On Sunday after the game we have a couple of post-game options for Astros fans.

Team USA vs. Team Canada at Minute Maid Park

Want more baseball? Team USA will play Team Canada as one of the matches of their 18u trials for the national team that will participate in international competition. Guests with tickets to the Astros/Rangers game will be allowed to stay for the USA/Canada game, but they will be asked to move down to the lower bowl. We anticipate first pitch at approximate 5:30 pm CT.

Z Tequila After Party at Flying Saucer

After the game, make your way over to Flying Saucer (705 Main Street), grab a drink and say hello to Astros Baseball Operations and Scouting personnel — including our Director of Decision Sciences, Sig Mejdal. This will be a casual gathering where Astros fans can meet Astros personnel and enjoy Z Tequila drink specials.

We look forward to seeing you at the ballpark to #DefendHouston!

- Amanda
@amandarykoff

 

#SaveRaelyn: Chad Qualls and Astros Support Young Girl’s Battle with Cancer

Chad Qualls and the Astros support Raelyn Cutbirth as she fights cancer

Chad Qualls and the Astros support Raelyn Cutbirth as she fights cancer

Anybody in the Astros’ clubhouse on Tuesday afternoon before the team’s game against the A’s noticed several Astros players, including Jose Altuve, Dexter Fowler, Chad Qualls, Jon Singleton, Marwin Gonzalez and Marc Krauss, with hot pink t-shirts with the simple message across the front: “Save Raelyn.”

Qualls called me over to see how we could share the story of Raelyn Cutbirth, an adorable 4-year old girl suffering from Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare cancer of the soft tissue. Raelyn’s mother is friends with his wife, Tara.

“I want to raise awareness for that rare form of cancer,” Qualls said. “And for a little girl that’s in pain right now.”

Here is Raelyn’s story (warning: keep the Kleenex close by).

Save Raelyn

Save Raelyn (photo from Save Raelyn Facebook page)

Raelyn Cutbirth is a sweet, kind, caring little girl who charms just about everybody who meets her. On July 19, 2012, two-year-old Raelyn was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a very rare cancer of the soft tissue. For fifty-four weeks, Raelyn underwent chemotherapy and radiation. On June 6, 2013, it looked like she had fought off the disease. Raelyn’s scans showed no evidence of disease.  However, because of the uncertainty of Rhabdomyosarcoma, Raelyn’s cancer could not be considered in remission until she remained symptom-free for five years.

On June 16, 2014, just days before her 4th birthday, Raelyn had her twelve-month check up. Her routine scans showed that the cancer had returned. Because Rhabdomyosarcoma is so rare, the doctors needed more resources to effectively treat the cancer. The doctors gave Raelyn a 10-20 percent chance of survival.

Despite this devastating news, Raelyn’s family refused to give up. On June 27, 2014, Raelyn started chemotherapy again to fight her cancer. However, because she received the maximum dose of radiation during her first round of treatment, she will not be able to get radiation treatment this time.

On July 17, the family received the devastating news that the tumor continued to grow and protruded inside Raelyn’s mouth, through the skin. The doctors have stopped chemotherapy because it was no longer working. Raelyn’s doctor’s decided to give her 3 1/2 weeks of radiation, strictly for palliative care.

As of August 4, 2014, Raelyn’s doctors discontinued radiation because it was not working. The tumor continued to grow quickly, and nothing can stop it. Raelyn’s parents were informed that Raelyn no longer has viable medical options and she has been released to hospice care. Her parents want her to enjoy as many moments as she can. No child should ever have to endure the horrible effects of cancer and the illness the treatments cause.

A Facebook page has been set up chronicling Raelyn’s battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma. https://www.facebook.com/SaveRaelyn/info.

A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help the family pay for medical expenses accrued during this difficult time. Donations are accepted: http://www.gofundme.com/aqngwg.

Friends and family have organized a fundraiser on September 14 at the Cypress Saloon in Cypress, TX. Details are available on the Save Raelyn Facebook page.

George Springer supports Raelyn

George Springer supports Raelyn

We hope this post can help spread the word about this rare form of cancer and this little girl’s fight. Stay strong, Raelyn. The Astros will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

#SaveRaelyn

- Amanda
@amandarykoff

 

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