Pences cell phone, suspended games and astronauts. Discuss.
Hunter Pence’s cell phone is, as they say, blowing up. He’s received about as many calls and text messages regarding his first All-Star selection as when he was first called up in 2007.
I asked him if any congratulatory messages stood out more than the others. He pinpointed two, the first of which occurred in the batting cages at AT&T Park in San Francisco early Sunday morning. Teammate Darin Estad pretty much pummelled Pence with a big bear hug when he found out the news. That meant a lot to Hunter, as did the message he received from former teammate Ty Wigginton, offering his congrats.
Erstad and “Wiggy” are two players Pence respects tremendously and looks up to, and Pence went as far to say Wigginton is probably the smartest baseball player he’s ever been around. “He doesn’t miss anything, and he remembers every detail from every game,” Pence said, adding that Wigginton is “all heart.”
The Astros and Nationals will complete the May 5 game that was suspended due to rain this Thursday, beginning at 6:05 p.m. CT. We’ve gone over a lot of the ground rules already, but it can’t hurt to revisit. Plus, we have some more tidbits regarding the rules and regulations for that game.
First, the bare basics: Fans with tickets to the regularly-scheduled 7:05 p.m. game Thursday will also be admitted to the suspended game continuation. No separate tickets will be sold. Gates will open at 5 p.m.
The regularly scheduled game will start at 7:05 p.m., unless the suspended game ends after 6:45 p.m. In that case, there will be a 20-minute break between games.
The game will resume just as it was when originally suspended on May 5 in a 10-10 tie. It will resume in the bottom of the 11th inning, with the Nationals at-bat with one out and a runner on first base (Elijah Dukes). LaTroy Hawkins was the pitcher on the mound, and he is allowed to continue his outing if the Astros see fit.
And here’s some more fun stuff…
* All position players and pitchers who were used and removed from the game on May 5 will not be eligible to return to the contest. For the Astros, those players include Carlos Lee and Jason Michaels, as well as pitchers Roy Oswalt, Chris Sampson, Tim Byrdak and Geoff Geary.
* Players who are currently on the roster, but were not when the game was originally suspended, are eligible to play in the suspended game. Players who were in the lineup when play suspended, but are not currently on the active roster, must be subbed for in the same position and batting order.
Interestingly, this will be the first time the Astros host a suspended game since July 23, 1999. The Astros and Padres finished their June 13 game, which was suspended when Larry Dierker suffered a grand mal seizure in the home dugout at the Astrodome. That game was halted in the middle of the eighth inning with the Astros leading, 4-1, and they eventually won it.
As we continue the final homestand leading up to the All-Star break, here’s a quick rundown of the ticket specials the Astros are offering this week:
Kids Free All Summer (purchase one full-price adult ticket in the View Deck I, View Deck II or Mezzanine and receive two free tickets in the same price level for kids 14 and under)
Tuesday, July 7: Double Play Tuesdays (Two Outfield Deck Tickets for only $2 — bring in two labels from any 2 – 32 oz. POWERade bottles to the Minute Maid Park Box Office)
Wednesday, July 8: Price Matters (View Deck II ticket, Hot dog, Soda, Chips — all for $10.)
Hunter’s Lodge (Field Box seat and Pence t-shirt for $30)
Bayou Bash Sunday
From the photo vault:
Astronaut Mike Massimino threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Monday’s game, and here he is outside of Dennis’s office, receiving a personalized Astros jersey while chatting it up with Craig Biggio (remember what I said about Dennis’s office being the epicenter of the Astros’ universe?).
Massimino is a veteran of two space flights, most recently the Shuttle Mission STS-125, a 12-day mission to the Hubble telescope. In total, Massimino has logged almost 600 hours of space flight time and has performed over 30 hours of spacewalks.
The Astros presented Massimino with a banner signed by the entire front office and all of the players, the same banner that went up with Massimino on the last space mission.
Alyson Footer is on Twitter