Fun day at Minute Maid.
Please indulge me while I wallow in a bit of nostalgia with the pictures I’m posting today. The Astros celebrated their 10th season at Minute Maid Park with a pregame ceremony on Tuesday that brought back some of the most popular players and managers in the last decade, and it was great to see everyone again. I can’t remember the last time I saw Shane Reynolds, who has barely aged since he last pitched for the Astros in 2001. Larry Dierker was there, as was Phil Garner, Jeff Bagwell and the newly-retired Jeff Kent, who is happily living in Austin, running a couple of businesses and hanging out with the family. I wonder how long it will be before he misses baseball. He seems pretty content right now.
First, a couple of news and notes from last night’s game:
* With runners on first and second and nobody out in the ninth inning, Michael Bourn was given the bunt sign from the dugout. Although Bourn initially showed bunt, he ended up swinging away, presumably in an effort to fool the Cubs fielders and slap a single over someone’s head. It didn’t work. Bourn ended up reaching on a fielder’s choice, while Jeff Keppinger was erased at third.
Asked about it after the game, Cecil Cooper confirmed Bourn was instructed to bunt and said, “I have to talk to Michael about that.”
But Cooper also defended his center fielder: “In that situation, a lot of times it is tough to put down a bunt, and guys do have the green light to do something with the ball other than bunt it right. Ii thought it was a pretty good play, he just didn’t quite execute it.”
* The Astros’ 3-2 10th inning win over the Cubs marked the first time in a while the game was not won because of a Darin Erstad contribution. The Astros’ last walkoff win arrived via a home run by Erstad last Sept. 26, versus the Braves, and the club’s last walkoff win in extra innings occurred on Aug. 2 of last year, versus the Mets. Erstad won that one with a sac fly.
On to the photos…
Geoff Blum and Jeff Kent
Larry Dierker, wearing his signature Hawaiian shirt.
Phil Garner, Roy Oswalt
This was kind of a cool shot — that’s Jeff Kent and Russ Ortiz, who were teammates on the 2002 Giants club that lost to Darin Erstad’s Angels in the World Series. To the left is Shane Reynolds; Bagwell is behind Ortiz. The big guy in the middle is Doug Brocail.
Jeff Kent, standing alongside 10-year season ticket holders.
Kent and Bagwell, and Reynolds (looking down). Who’s that man in the middle? Why, that’s Buck, who works for Dennis Liborio in the Astros’ clubhouse.
Reynolds, Dierker, Kent.