Darrell Pittman’s ST 2016 Pictorial Story

Prepare for a real treat, Pecan Park Eagle readers! Our personal friends, Darrell Pittman and Susan Pittman, have just returned from their weather-detoured road home trip to Kissimmee with some of their other good friends. As most of you know, Darrell Pittman is also one of the principal operators, along with Bob Hulsey, of Astros Daily, and a monumental baseball history research contributor to our efforts here at The Eagle. Both Darrell and Susan Pittman were valuable contributors also to our 2014 SABR publication: “Houston Baseball: The Early Years, 1861-1961.”

We hope this is a good time for you because Darrell Pittman is about to take everyone on a nice written ride to the Spring Training site of the 2016 bright and shiny Houston Astros, followed by a display of many, many photos taken in Kissimmee, Florida. Watch slowly. And digest them all. This deluge of sensory visual baseball appetizers has to last us from here to Opening Day.

Thank you for this beautiful contribution, Darrell! ~ The Pecan Park Eagle.

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DP-02-Osceola County Stadium-3.15.2016

Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee, Florida ~ Last Astros ST Use in 2016

Note: Troy Brown was the photographer on all game action photos featured in this pictorial. Also, in the above opening panorama, John Mayberry, Jr., son of the former Houston first baseman, was at bat for Detroit when the photo was taken from afar.

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How I Spent My Spring Training Vacation

by Darrell Pittman

My wife Susan and I decided that, with this being the last season of Astros spring training at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida, we would make our first trip there since 2003.

On our previous trips to Kissimmee, we had always gone by ourselves, but this time we were joined by our good friends Troy and Bridgett, a couple with whom we square dance, and Susan’s former co-worker and friend Diane. They are huge Astros fans, too.

We decided to go to the games of March 13, 15, and 16, as Bridgett is a teacher and that was her week off for Spring Break. So while I booked the game tickets online, Susan got on the web and located a beautiful four-bedroom house for us to rent, which worked out to be for about the same daily rate as one room at a good hotel. Even better, the house had a pool and a game room, and was about a half-mile from the ballpark.

On our outbound trip on Friday the 11th, it turned out that we were driving through Louisiana and Mississippi in between two bands of heavy rains. These were the same rains that later flooded Orange and the lower East Texas area, the aftermath of which we would deal with on our return trip. We stopped in Mobile for the night, and continued on Saturday, arriving in Kissimmee about 7 PM.

Before the trip, Susan used her embroidery machine to craft tote bags for the ladies bearing their names and retro Astros logos, which were perfect for carrying sunscreen, cameras, and the swag they (and I) bought at the Astros team store.

The first game we went to was Sunday the 13th against Atlanta. The Astros nipped the Braves, 7-6. Jose Altuve connected for a monster three-run homer in the fourth off Rob Wooten. He, Jason Castro, and Marwin Gonzalez also doubled. The starter, Doug Fister, was touched for three runs (all earned) and one homer over 3 IP. Neal Cotts got the win. It was good to see Bo Porter, now coaching for Atlanta, fist-bumping youngsters in the stands.

The Astros played in Viera against the Nationals Monday, which ended in a 1-1 draw. We opted to hang out by the pool and grill some burgers, so it was an off day for us.

On Tuesday those same Nationals repaid the visit in Kissimmee, rallying for three ninth-inning runs in a 6-4 victory over the Good Guys. Collin McHugh got the start for Houston, going 3.2 and giving up three runs. Marwin Gonzalez hit a solo shot off Gio Gonzalez in the fourth. Jake Buchanan came on the in the ninth with a 4-3 lead but blew the save opportunity (sound familiar?).

At Tuesday’s game we were joined by my good friend Bob, with whom I used to work. He drove in from South Carolina to meet us and stayed over that night.

The Astros played host to the Tigers Wednesday. I figured it would be a perfect storm for the ladies with former Astros heartthrob and current Detroit manager Brad Ausmus appearing in the same locale as the Astros’ backup outfielder and current cutie Jake Marisnick. Though several in the stands were seen to swoon, a crisis was luckily averted as the two were never close enough to be seen together. Oh yeah, the Astros lost 7-3. We were discussing how disappointing a spring Jon Singleton was having when he up and hit a ninth-inning homer.

Bridgett’s birthday was Wednesday the 16th. We were able to arrange to have the stadium show a birthday greeting on their video board between innings, and Susan surprised her with a blingy Astros cap.

We closed up the rent house and left Kissimmee Thursday morning, early enough that we could make Houston without having to stop overnight. The only problem on the return trip was that I-10 at the Texas-Louisiana border was closed due to the flooding I mentioned previously. Rather than take the official detour through Shreveport, we headed south from Lake Charles to Cameron and re-entered Texas at Port Arthur.

Before we left home, we had programmed the DVR to record the games which we were to attend. When we got back, it was pretty cool to see Troy in some of the crowd shots.

Bob is planning to move back to Florida in a few months, so we told him he had to get a house near the Astros’ new crib at West Palm Beach so we could go stay at his place next year. He’s supposed to send us photos of prospective houses for our approval before he buys.

Osceola County Stadium is a nice little ballpark with great views, a cozy feel, and friendly staff. It’s a bit sad that the Astros are leaving after 32 years, but I’m also looking forward to seeing the new place.

All in all, it was a wonderful vacation doing what we love: watching Astros baseball with very dear friends. They say it’s not habit-forming as long as you keep doing it.

~ Darrell Pittman, 3/23/2016.

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The Darrell, Susan, and Friends 2016 Astros Spring Training Photo Gallery

Jose Altuve Homers.

Jose Altuve Homers.

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Carlos Correa

Carlos Correa

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George Springer

George Springer

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Colby Rasmus Goes Deep

Colby Rasmus Goes Deep!

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Jake Marisnick

Jake Marisnick

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Luis Valbuena

Luis Valbuena

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Tyler White

Tyler White

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Matt Duffy

Matt Duffy

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Preston Tucker

Preston Tucker

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Carlos Gomez

Carlos Gomez

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Alex Bregman

Alex Bregman

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Eury Perez

Eury Perez

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Collin McHugh

Collin McHugh

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Doug Fister

Doug Fister

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Former Astros Manager Bo Porter Now a Braves Coach

Former Astros Manager Bo Porter
Now a Braves Coach

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Craig Biggio and Brad Ausmus

Craig Biggio and Brad Ausmus

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Former Astro Brad Ausmus Manager, Detroit Tigers

Former Astro Brad Ausmus
Manager, Detroit Tigers

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Astros Dugout

Astros Dugout

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Autograph Alley

Autograph Alley

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Orbit Gives Fans a Hard Time!

Orbit Gives Fans a Hard Time!

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Darrell and Susan Pittman Photo by the Photbomber

Darrell and Susan Pittman
Photo by the Photobomber

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Bridgett, Diane, and Susan ~ Hard to tell from their attire that they are on a baseball vacation, isn't it?

Bridgett Brown, Diane Miley, and Susan Pittman
~ Hard to tell from their attire that they are on a baseball vacation, isn’t it?

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Susan made these handbags for the girls to use on the trip. - How thoughtful was that? All that and great art too!

Susan Pittman made these tote bags for all the girls to use on the trip. – How thoughtful was that? All that – and great art too!

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A birthday surprise greeting for Susan Brown did hit the screen, but the Astros misspelled her name. - We think it may been the first recorded error in Astros History.

A birthday surprise greeting for Bridgett Brown did hit the screen, but the Astros misspelled her name. – We think it may have been the first recorded error in Astros History.

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Bridgett Brown apparently was happily surprised, even if they did misspell her first name. One consolation? original Houston Colt .45 Pidge Browne is one fo the few who ever misspelled that popular last name. The2016 Astros got part right this time.

Bridgett Brown apparently was happily surprised, even if they did misspell her first name. One consolation? An 0riginal Houston Colt .45 player named Pidge Browne is one of the few who ever misspelled that popular last name. At least, the 2016 Astros got that part right this time.

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Darrell's friend Troy managed to get himself on TV. See the the white arrow pointing Troy out in the upper right hand corner?

Darrell’s friend Troy managed to get himself on TV. See the white arrow pointing Troy out in the upper right hand corner?

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Darrell (far side) and Troy

Darrell (far side) and Troy

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Bridgett and Troy Brown

Bridgett and Troy Brown

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Darrell and his good friend Bob and former co-worker from South Carolina got to have a happy reunion because of the trip.

Darrell and his good friend Bob Sharp, also a former co-worker, who now lives in South Carolina got to have a happy reunion because of the trip.

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Darrell says, that the detour route home through Cajun Country would have ben scenic, but they passed through it in the dead of night.

Darrell says that the detour route home through Cajun Country would have been scenic, but they passed through it in the dead of night. Thanks for making the effort, anyway, friend, and also for sharing your trip to see the Astros in Spring Training with the rest of us. ~ Regards and Best Wishes, Bill McCurdy.

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eagle-0rangeBill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

https://bill37mccurdy.com/

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4 Responses to “Darrell Pittman’s ST 2016 Pictorial Story”

  1. vdpittman Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Bill!

    I neglected to mention, as I should have, that the game-action photos were all taken by Troy Brown!

  2. vdpittman Says:

    I just now noticed that, in the panorama shot, Detroit’s John Mayberry, Jr., son of the former Astro, is at bat.

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