Astros celebrate firefighters.
LaTroy Hawkins arrived to Fire station No. 22 as more than just a local baseball celebrity ready to shake hands and pose for pictures. This station was filled with firefighters trained specifically to control hazardous materials — “HazMat” — and Hawkins was awed by how much danger they put themselves in day after day in order to do their jobs.
So Hawkins stepped into their shoes, quite literally, to receive just a small taste of it. He tried on the gear — a chemical suit weighing no less than 40 pounds. He also asked plenty of questions, and he walked away with a renewed appreciation for what real heroes do for their communities.
“You’ve got to appreciate what these guys do,” Hawkins said. “Police officers, firefighters, everyone in the community. We (baseball players) make too much money. They don’t make enough money. They put their hand print on the community. We just play baseball.”
The Astros spend the morning Friday honoring Houston firefighters with their new Adopt-A-Firehouse initiative. Nine players visited their “adopted” fire houses — the house that corresponded with their uniform numbers.
The participants were: Pudge Rodriguez, Hawkins, Doug Brocail, Chris Sampson, Miguel Tejada, Hunter Pence, Cecil Cooper, Russ Ortiz and Geoff Blum.
“We owe a lot to the firefighters,” Pence said. “They sacrifice a lot for us. It’s good to be here and the Astros really appreciate what they’re doing.”
Pence poses with two young fans:
And also with the good people of Fire Station No. 9:
Blum poses with Fire Station No. 27:
Pence cracked everyone up with a flex of the bicep…
During Friday’s game, all players wore a special Houston Fire Department baseball cap. The game-worn caps will then be autographed by the players and made available through an auction to benefit the Firefighters Protection Fund. A portion of the ticket prices for Friday’s game were donated back to the fund.
The Astros also hosted a pregame ceremony recognizing Captain James Harlow and Firefighter Damion Hobbs, who perished in the line of duty this spring while fighting a residential fire in southeast Houston. Members of the Harlow and Hobbs family threw out ceremonial first pitches.
Meanwhile, back in the clubhouse, Brian McTaggart gets the skinny on all things controversial…
Geoff Blum addresses the fans booing him during Thursday’s game. Asked about the irony of driving in the winning run one day later, Blum said, “It’s interesting. This game will find you in the weirdest places. Last night was interesting, then I got a chance to redeem myself and I took advantage of it.”
Russ Ortiz is summoned to the principal’s — I mean, Coop’s office.
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