Posts Tagged ‘Opening Day’

Come On, Opening Day!

January 27, 2016

Crawford Blue Skies

Sunny spring skies – bring ’em bright on,

Won’t be long now – til old winter’s gone,

No more dumb staring – out the stupid-wish window,

Or wasting more time – on an ancient Nintendo.


Baseball the game – will be back in H-town,

Generating each smile – and killing each frown,

With Carlos Correa – and Altuve too,

Our future looks bright – as the skies turn to blue.


So grab up your tickets – and crank up the car,

If you spring forty bucks – your park won’t be far,

But don’t leave today – or you’ll feel like a dunce,

‘Cause the season won’t start – for another two months.


Just hang in there, ‘Stros fans – our day will soon come,

And this year feels special – no settling for crumbs,

Rangers and Royals – the rest of you too,

Better watch out – we’re gunning for you!


Come On, Opening Day!

2016 – the Year of the Houston Astros – is finally here!

In 2016 – let’s finally end the wait that began in 1962!





Home Opener 2011: Morning After

April 9, 2011

Home Opening Day, Minute Maid Park, Houston, April 8, 2011

The place was packed. The weather was nice. The company was friendly. The food was ballpark. The new giant HD scoreboard was beautiful. And the home season was underway.

But we lost, 4-3. The Florida Marlins spoiled a beautiful seven-inning outing by Astros starter Wandy Rodriquez with two solo-shot homers off relievers Wilton Lopez and Jeff Fulchino in the eighth and ninth innings and the deed was done.

Michel Bourn: Stranded in the Jungle of Failed Clutch.

With the Astros trailing, 3-2, going into the bottom of the eighth, Michael Bourn led off with a single to left to fire home hope. Bourn then moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Angel Sanchez and next stole third with Hunter Pence at bat.


Unfortunately, Pence then fanned on a 3-2 slider in the dirt and Carlos Lee popped to first on the first pitch his way to end the inning.

The Marlins expanded their lead to 4-2 with a two-out  solo homer by Chris Coghlan off Jeff Fulchino in the top of the ninth. Brett Wallace then pulled Houston back to a 4-3 deficit by homering to left as the lead-0ff man to face new Marlins hurler Leo Nunez in the last of the ninth. Two outs later, J.R. Towles kept things going with a single to left, Earlier in the game, Towles had given the Astros a 1-0 lead with a solo shot homer of his own. This time he would be replaced with a speedier pinch runner in the form of Jason Bourgeois. With lefty Jeff Inglett next pinch-hitting for pitcher Fulchino and down to his last strike, the Astros sent Bourgeois in an attempted steal. A Florida pitch out diagnosed the move and gunned down the play to end the game.

Florida had won the game, 4-3. The Astros now hang at 1-6 with the long season still mostly in front of us. To me, the critical point in this game was the eighth inning failure of the club to get Bourn home from third base with only one out. A Bourn homecoming at that point would have tied the game at 3-3 and changed the face of everything that remained out there to happen next.

Who knows? All we know now is – there’s another game to be played later today. Maybe Game Two of the series will turn in our favor.

The new screen is awesome, but I can no longer read the batting averages next to each name in the lineup.

The new HD video screen is awesome, indeed, but I had a very hard squinting time reading the batting averages next to each name in the lineup as they appear in the photo shown here. Maybe it’s just me and my need for a new prescription, but I still wish the numbers could have shown up bigger – even if it were just on the full stat display that appears for the man at bat.

Of course, I don’t really expect the Astros, or anyone else, to account for all the issues facing those of us with age appropriate mobility needs and failing  sensory function problems. If I did, I would have expected the club to provide me with helicopter service to my Opening Day seats and a loaner oxygen mask and air tank for my use while I was there.

I enjoyed Opening Day. I simply would have enjoyed it more, had we won. Maybe today will turn out a different story ending.

Home Opening Day 2011

April 8, 2011

Opening Day, Minute Maid Park, Houston, 2010.

As Dolly Parton used to energetically sing, “Here We Go Again!” Baseball season is back, full blast.

It’s Friday, April 8, 2011, finally time for the home opening game of the Houston Astros in their fiftieth (YES, 50th) season of major league baseball. Astros broadcaster and SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) member Bill Brown has now written what we are all sure will be a wonderful book on Houston’s time as a major league baseball city. That work will not be released until next year, 2012, the actual 50th anniversary date of the club’s first 1962 season in the National League.

Opening Day at home after actually starting the season on the road against the arguably two best clubs in the National League kind of stains the snow of pure unadulterated hope and the Astros have the 1-5 record to back up that assault on dreams from reality, but so what? It’s early. Baseball is the sport of the long season. The important thing now for us baseball fans is simply the fact that its back, as are we who will be going to the game later today. Nobody could have guaranteed the next coming of this season’s new joy when the 2010 run ended, but here we are, those of us who survived the off-season wait. We are ready to give it a go one more time.

Speaking only for me, I’m not going to allow a lot of high expectations for the outcome of this 2011 Astros club spoil the joy of the season itself. We obviously have some problems that include pitching, hitting, fielding, and roster health, but I really believe we have a good everyday force going for us in the form of Manager Brad Mills and a great long-range plan for rebuilding the farm system and roster strength in the presence of General Manager Ed Wade. Back both those spots with the everyday presence of Astros Baseball President Tal Smith, the almost a half century icon of our entire major experience in Houston, and I would say that things are in the best hands available.

Here are some interest points in 2011 for me: (1) I will be watching to see if our two corner infielders (Johnson and Wallace) can show some strength as big league hitters. Both have to either hit for high average or long ball pop to justify their futures in the lineup; (2) We need to stop thinking of Michael Bourn as the future of the club. I like the guy, love him as a fielder, but he’s 29 years old, too up in years to be the future in a double-binded kind of way: (a) if he doesn’t hit far above .250 this year, the Astros cannot justify keeping him in center, but (b) if Bourn hits close to .300, they have to negotiate his 2012 contract with new agent Scott Boras. Where’s the upside on Bourn? (3) Starter J.A. Happ has good stuff, but awful control. That needs to improve;  (4) waiting and watching to see what happens with Jordan Lyles at Oklahoma City; and (5) to just chill out and watch for surprises.

Baseball games can run on for hours. just as the season itself spills all the way into next fall. To that, I say, “Thank God for both conditions. I just love getting trapped in the ballpark and by the season itself.

Play Ball, Astros! Give us your best shot!