Archive for the Astros Category

Ten Days and Counting

Posted in Astros, baseball, travel on 21 March 08 by mikevc

mlb.jpgIt’s almost here. Opening Day is a short week and a few days away. Though my beloved Astros (or a group of players wearing Astros’ uniforms) start this season away from home, things work out quote well for me. I will be at a library conference when the season begins and would have missed game one were it at Minute Maid. So, I will behouston_astros2.jpg ringing in the season in Minneapolis at the Metrodome as the Twins take on the Angels. And, I will be back from my sojourn north in time to see the ‘Stros take on the Cards in their first 2007 home game on April 7. I couldn’t be more excited.

My First Baseball Weekend in ’08? Almost

Posted in Astros, baseball, family, illness on 3 March 08 by mikevc

I have been looking forward to this weekend for quite a while. This weekend was to be the first weekend of that most wonderful time of the year: baseball season. Now, I know that the pros don’t actually get underway until the end of the month, but last week was the start of spring training games and this weekend was the always fun College Classic at Minute Maid Park, including my alma mater (UT Longhorns) and my childhood favorites/school I wish I had gone to (Rice Owls). This is a 3 day event w/ 3 games each day. My plan was to catch five games: all the games the Owls and UT played, especially the Saturday night game when they played each other. Well, fate had other plans.

On Thursday (actually Wednesday night), I was hit with the flu. I left work early on Thursday and haven’t been back. The really sad thing is I took Friday off to catch some baseball and then take my wife out to dinner for her birthday. Needless to say, none of this happened. Not only was I sick but I had one kid recovering from and one just coming down with the flu. Friday and Saturday were both complete washes. I was miserable both days. But there is some good news:

For the wife: Even though we haven’t gone to her birthday dinner at Cafe Montrose yet, her friends did manage to finagle (btw, in a completely unrelated comment other than the word “finagle” made me think of it, I love the name Finagle-a-Bagel, which was a bagel shop all over Boston) her some tickets for the Livestock Show and Rodeo Annual BBQ Cookoff, which she has been wanting to go to for the past ten years. It sounds like she had fun but the inevitable happened. As the only one of the four in our house who had been free of the illness, she returned from the event sniffling and miserably ill.

For me: I did make it to the College Classic today. My wonderful wife allowed me to go even though she was sick and the boys seemed to recover. I had hoped to catch the Rice-Texas Tech game and the UT-UHouston game. I made it through the first one before I realized I wasn’t fully recovered yet. Exhausted, I headed home after one game. On the bright side, the Owls won all their games and I got a parking space on Texas Avenue right outside the park.

One last plea to the folks at Minute Maid or Drayton McLain or someone: Next year please keep the Astros FanFest and the College Classic on the same weekend. It just feels like more of an event that way and allows us ‘Stros fans to get into that baseball mode early in the year. I really don’t like that they separated the two this year. Plus, I am going to be in Minneapolis when the FanFest is held this year. I shouldn’t complain I will get to spend Opening Day with the Twins and Angels: my first AL Opening Day.

Backe’s Back!!!

Posted in Astros, baseball on 3 September 07 by mikevc

backe.jpgI am beyond excited that Brandon Backe will be making his first major league start tomorrow night when the Astros take on the Brewers. Now, I realize this season is pretty much over even if the ‘Stros are coming back to life under Cooper. But, I believe that Backe is key to their success. Not only because he is a good pitcher (which he is) but because of his attitude. If you followed the ‘Stros before he went out for Tommy Johns surgery, you would have seen him screaming, cheering, and jumping around in the dugout like any rabid fan. It was clear that he was as much a fan as a player. It helps that he is pitching for his hometown team.
He reminds me of Scott Brooks of the championship Rockets, who–though not the best player–brought so much value to the team because of his enthusiasm. Backe brings an excitement and passion that seems to be rare in professional sports these days. It seems to impact the entire team. Continuing the Rockets comparison, I will add that he is also similar to Robert Horry in his unbelievably clutch performances. Just watch. Next year, the Astros will have a winning season and–I predict–make it to the playoffs. While I think Cecil Cooper will do a great job managing and non-Houston fans will finally see we have the best pitcher in the majors (Roy O), I will attribute that success to the fact that we have the best fan-player in the game.

Welcome back, Brandon!

Over for the ‘Stros?

Posted in arrogant literary reference, Astros, baseball on 15 July 07 by mikevc

I have been able to comfort myself with the Astros dismal record by telling myself that they would mount one of their proverbial second half comebacks.  But after getting swept by the Cubbies in the first three games post-All-Star-break things are really looking a bit dismal.  My beloved Astros are currently owners of the fourth worst record in the majors and the third worst record in the NL. I remain a fan through thick and thin and I hold out hope for a final third season comeback.

Oh well, at least the Mariners, my AL faves, are doing quite well.

3 away for 7; I am screwed

Posted in Astros, baseball on 26 June 07 by mikevc


Biggio is now officially 3 hits away from the 3,000 club. The Astros have six games left until I am back in H-Town and able to take in a game. With two of these being day games after night games, you’ve got to figure Biggio will sit out. But, in order for things to work out for me to see hit 3,000 while sitting in the stands at Minute Maid, it would require that Bidge get no hits in two out of four games. Selfishly, I renounce my earlier statement and am now officially hoping for this scenario. After tomorrow, the ‘Stros return to Houston; at least it’ll happen at home.

2 more for 7

Posted in Astros, baseball on 20 June 07 by mikevc

Well, after tonight’s Astros game, it is even less likely that I will be seeing Biggio get 3,000.  Two more hits puts him 8 away from the big 3,000.  Statistically, it is growing less and less likely that I will be in town for the big hit.

Again, I stress: how about that Hunter Pence?  And Orlando?  Whew-we!

Since my posts have been baseball heavy, I will not separate this into another one.  I went to two games this weekend–both against the Mariners.  I don’t really follow the AL.   But, I am glad for inter-league play if for no other reason than I got to see Ichiro play; that guy is a machine.  His ability to get hits is unparallelled and his arm is amazing.   Even though the family is in VA, I had a fantastic Father’s Day weekend at Minute Maid Park.

Am I Going to Miss 3,000?

Posted in Astros, baseball on 19 June 07 by mikevc

One of my 43 Things goals is to see Craig Biggio get hit 3,000. Unfortunately, no matter how I figure it I think I am going to miss it. As of now, Biggio is ten away. There are thirteen games before I return from D.C. to Houston on July 2nd. Figuring that Garner will sit Bidge at least three times since there are three day games after night game, that means he will play at least ten games. He will have to hit below his average for that to work for my advantage. I can’t bring myself to hope for that.

Oh well, I am buying tickets for the July 3rd game just in case.

Also, watching the game now, I continue to be floored by Hunter Pence on offense and defense. I think if fans across the country could see this kid play he’d be a write-in All Star. If he keeps going the way he is going, he should be the hands-down Rookie of the Year for the NL.