Enough of that. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

A few news and notes from camp today:
*J.R. Towles is out for a game or two with a torn nail after apparently hitting his hand on a ceiling fan while taking off his shirt.

*Hunter Pence missed his third game in a row Friday while nursing a slight strain of his left calf. “I’m ready to play today,” he said. “I’m strong, good, healthy and happy. It feels like your body does on a normal everyday basis, when you’re playing every day. You’ve got got to loosen up, that’s all.”

*Cecil Cooper received a call from his predecessor, Phil Garner, who, after noting the Astros’ dismal spring record, offered up some encouraging words. “He just said, ‘Hang in there,” Cooper said. “It’s always good to talk to him.”

*Pudge Rodriguez will wear No. 12 this year, but for the first couple of games, he’ll wear No. 14. At that time, he and hitting coach Sean Berry plan to swap, with Berry taking No. 14.

I’m glad you all enjoyed the first set of pictures I posted. Here is round two…

Television announcers Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies, during a Talkin’ Baseball session at FanFest a number of years ago. You’ll notice JD still has some hair.

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More modern times: Brownie and JD, September of 2007.

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This cracks me up. Poor Eric Bruntlett was stuck pairing up with Brad Ausmus during a photo booth session at FanFest three or four years ago. Most of the women asked to take their picture with just Brad. Eric had a sense of humor about it, however.

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Chris Burke was always a fun guy to have around. Here he is providing some comic relief during batting practice.

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I took this shot at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago in 2007 not realizing this was the exact moment Phil Garner was giving Lidge his closer’s job back. Garner had given it to Wheeler two months earlier.

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This AP photo and reminded me of one of my favorite storylines from the 2002 World Series. Anyone remember this? That’s J.T. Snow, grabbing Dusty Baker’s son, Darren, seconds before the little guy was about to be pummeled by whoever was about to score. Darren was a bit overzealous with his batboying that night.

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Clubhouse manager Dennis Liborio. I like this picture because it shows the painting that hangs in his officethat was given to him by Ken Caminiti in 2000. That’s Dennis at his desk, on the phone, with Bagwell, Biggio and Caminiti peering into the window to his office. It was painted by sports artist Opie Otterstad.

0319_blog_dennis.jpg

I took this the day the Astros retired Larry Dierker’s uniform No. 49 in May of 2002.

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This was taken during batting practice before one of the Astros’ many exhibition games with the Royals the weekend before Opening Day. Here we have the two most popular second basemen in Astros history, Bill Doran and Craig Biggio. Doran was a coach with the Royals for several years.

0319_blog_doran_biggio.jpg

Brian McTaggart’s daughter, Erin, made Biggio a little sign to congratulate him on 3,000 hits and on his retirement. Brian promised Erin he would give it to Craig, and when he did, Craig immediately hung it up in his locker. I thought that was just so nice. So I took a picture.

0319_blog_etag.jpg

This one I just love. When a player is on the disabled list, he pretty much loses his mind with a) boredom and b) frustration that he cannot play. Here we have Adam Everett, on a Sunday morning around 10, fielding grounders from coach Doug Mansolino, from his knees. Adam’s leg was still broken from that collision with Carlos Lee, and as you can see, those are his crutches laying on the ground behind him. Adam was just happy to be doing something, anything; hence, the ear-to-ear grin.

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This was taken when the Astros clinched the division in St. Louis in 2001. Bet you forgot Scott Servais played for this team. This one is funny because this was actually staged — I asked Everett and Servais to act like they were about to pour champagne on each other, but they went ahead and did the real thing. I believe if you look closely, there’s a Tony Eusebio
sighting in this picture.

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Ashley Judd attended batting practice with her husband, who was throwing out the first pitch at the game that night. Old what’s-his-name r
ace car driver took the proverbial backseat to the movie star, who as you can see here was a big hit with your Astros. Phil Garner was an especially happy man.

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This was kind of a cool shot — that’s the Rays Scott Kazmir on the left, talking with Billy Wagner. Scott was days away from being taken as the No. 1 pick in the draft, and a local television station staged a meeting between Kazmir, a hard-throwing lefty from Houston, and Wagner, Houston’s hard-throwing lefty.

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Holy uncomfortable: Spring Training, 2003. I took this as Jeff Kent and Craig Biggio were meeting for the first time as teammates. Actually, it wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be.

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This is a Stephen O’Brien picture, taken at the baseball dinner a few years back. Brad Lidge is obviously the focus of this shot, but I like it because of Pettitte’s expression. He has a tremendous sense of humor, and that’s something the fans didn’t see often enough. One time, I was leafing through the Astros media guide and I saw his middle name was Eugene. I said
to him, “please tell me that’s a family name.” He turned red and said, “please don’t ever call me that.” Of course, from then on, I called him nothing but Andrew Eugene.

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Lidge and Wagner, during the National League team’s workout at the All-Star Game in New York last year.

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Here we have Lidge popping the champagne in the Phillies’ clubhouse after he closed out the World Series clincher last year.

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Luuuuuuuuuuuke. Another fan favorite, Luke Scott, is now an Oriole. Took this at Camden Yards last year.

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This was one of the better PR days for the Astros. It was Hunter Pence t-shirt giveaway day, and who better to hand out those t-shirt than the man himself? It was a total surprise to the fans, and it took a while for people to realize that yes, that really was Pence. I think he was on the DL at the time, so he had some extra time to spare.

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I stopped by the radio booth a couple of years ago and quickly snapped this picture, just before they were about to go on air: that’s Dave Raymond on the left, and Milo Hamilton on the right.

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Stayed tuned for round three…

16 Comments

Keep’em coming! Great insight via photography…dang good thing us men are so visually attuned! By the way…have we won another game yet?

See how visiually attuned we are…I actually read the blog this time…good thing Towles wasn’t on a stationary bike, huh…

Thank you for this blog, Alyson. I have been an Astros fan since they were known as the Colt .45s. I am enjoying reading your entries. Keep up the good work! 8-)

Great pics. I laughed out loud on quite a few of them. Tell Berkman we wanna see the super cool Elvis sideburns during the regular season….thankyouverymuch

I wish Luuuuuuke was still wearing an Astros uniform…and you’re correct: I forgot all about Scott gervais :)

First – WE WON today! Okay, so it is just a spring training game but Ortiz rocked. Footer, I have called Bright Sky Press to cut a deal with you on a photo book. You and I will be millionaires when it is published! You will give me a cut, right? You rock as a reporter and a baseball fan.

Bruntlett really got the short end of the stick in two consecutive pictures. :)

As for Towles, I know that stinks. When I was a kid, I was trying to learn to bunt and my finger got caught between the bat and the ball. I lost the fingernail and had to learn to bunt lefty… for a couple of years, before I taught myself to switch-hit (and switch-bunt,) the other team always knew when I was going to bunt, because I’d go up lefty. Funny but true story. Anyway, I know how much those nail injuries can really hurt. I’ve had broken ribs that didn’t hurt that much.

http://houston.mlblogs.com

Don’t tell Richard Justice, but this has quickly become the best Astros blog out there. Thanks for the pictures! Can’t wait to see more.

Thanks again for sharing your photos, Alyson. Most enjoyable…

Great pics, Alyson! Hopefully, soon you will get to take a picture of the backsides of Ed Wade and Ricky Bennett as they are leaving the grounds and walking off into the sunset, wondering what might have been if they had only known what they were doing! With any luck, you will be able to take this picture before the Astros fans have to endure 8 years of seeing the Astros fail to reach post-season play! Let’s see……….what year would that be……..2014……….say it ain’t so, Drayton?

Love the pics. I kinda forgot what JD looks like with hair.

How about those Astros winning, two games even. Don’t know if anyone caught my fearless prediction that they were going to win by two or more runs, but I just had a feeling they were due. If you don’t believe me check the previous post about Wade.

I just goes to show its not how you start spring break but how you finish. Now lets just hope those bats keep sizzling. Or at least keep luke warm.

Love the pics. I kinda forgot what JD looks like with hair.

How about those Astros winning, two games even. Don’t know if anyone caught my fearless prediction that they were going to win by two or more runs, but I just had a feeling they were due. If you don’t believe me check the previous post about Wade.

I just goes to show its not how you start spring break but how you finish. Now lets just hope those bats keep sizzling. Or at least keep luke warm.

Wow! A couple of these pictures brought back mega memories for me. I was there on some REALLY exciting days! I don’t think I could ever thank you enough for letting a little high-school girl like me follow you around that summer. :)

For some reason, I can’t post a blog. or a comment here. Anybody know what I’m doing wrong?

Exactly how low was that ceiling fan?

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

That picture of Luke in an Orioles uniform just breaks my heart. He deserved to stay an Astros player. And we deserved to have him be an Astros player.

LUKE, come home…………………..

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