I received a text on Tuesday evening before what would be the last game of the 2015 Houston Astros season. It said, “I ended up with an extra ticket to tomorrow nights game. I realize it’s a long shot, but wanted to know if you might be interested in going with me.” Well, let me think about…YES! I never dreamed I’d get to attend an Astros playoff game, especially a final game in a series game.
Honestly, I hoped to win, but expected to lose. Two nights earlier my Astros melted down late in a game that would have won the series. That event swung momentum away from the Astros.
The environment for the game was electric. Oceans of blue shirts in every direction, a few scattered orange shirts, most of which were actual roaming concession men and women. I think we did all agree that the silver lining on this this evening was that no matter the result, it wouldn’t be the Yankees moving on having already slayed them.
The seats were amazing. So amazing that Paul Rudd (Clueless, Ant Man) was sitting in front of us. The Astros lost and even so it was one of the best sports experiences I’ve ever had. Thank you Charles for giving me this memory.
The last few years I’ve watched a least a few innings of most Astros games due to MLB.tv. I’ve seen us lose so many games that this year made me uncomfortable. Early on when we were in first place in the West I took a screenshot thinking those days were numbered, but the guys kept that lead most of the year.
While on vacation this summer we realized the Astros were in Cleveland and we were somewhere near there so we drove to watch a game. That evening Javier Brackamonte the Astros Bullpen catcher tossed balls to Sadie Piper and Berkley, made their day. Sadie Piper later autographed her ball with Spring and Altuve’s names while Berkley personified her’s giving it a name and taking care of it.
In the summer John Vandewater moved here via the Army and upon coming to church I learned he too was an Astros fan. It’s been a long time since I’ve been anywhere near another Astros fan.
The lone bad news with the Astros this year is that Tal’s Hill is slated for removal. I know it’s quirky. I know it’s strange and makes our field seem like a putt putt course, but it’s ours. It’s Houston and to remove it makes me so sad. You know, Keep Minute Maid Weird! Our new owner has given us a great group of players, but it’s been at the cost of no longer playing in the National League and removing the most interesting part of the stadium.
There were some great moments this year. Biggio became the first player to enter the Hall of Fame as an Astros (Nolan Ryan foolishly went in as a Ranger). Also this year Mike Fiers pitched a No Hitter, Altuve had 200 hits, Keuchel put together a string of games that might win him the Cy Young Award. McHugh won 19 games and just about everyone hit at least 10 home runs.
The Players we have are amazing, they performed like pros and celebrated like children.
George Springer started “Club Astros” after victories. Club Astro eventually had a smoke machine, mirror ball and strobe light. He also instituted karate chops in place of high fives and some weird bowing thing with the outfielders.
Jose Altuve has proven to be the little engine that can hit 200 hits every year. The guy is so consistent and shows that he can play this game at the top level even though he’s the smallest in the league.
Evan Gattis makes me feel like we’re all being had. Like a bear wandered out of the woods and brought a stick with him and we’re like sure, bears can play. They call him El Oso Blanco (The White Bear). He does not use batting gloves, no tape on his bat, huge beard. At some point in the season the team was feeding gummy bears to anyone who hit a homerun (this is why this team so fantastic!), well he hit one and after he ate a white gummy bear they accused him of cannibalism.
Dallas Keuchel has this strangely clean cut mountain man beard. Colby Rasmus looks like he should be in a garage band, Carlos Correa turned 21 during the season and should win the rookie of the year. He said when he got his apartment in town that the realtor showed him that he could see Minute Maid Park out the window so he can wake up in the morning and if the stadium isn’t on fire he knows he has to go to work. He says every morning he looks out his window and when he sees the stadium isn’t on fire, he gets to go play baseball.
So 2015 is over and I got to say after suffering so many losing seasons it was an absolute blast to watch these guys and can’t wait to see watch them play again next Spring.