Ask Alyson: How do players spend their free time on the road?

We traveled from Nashville to St. Louis this past weekend to watch our Astros battle the Cardinals. While we were in St. Louis, we took in a few of the local sights (Arch, City Museum) and restaurants. This got us to wondering how often the players, while on the road, get away from the ballpark and hotel to see and do things. Obviously, game and flight times make a big difference.  But, for example, the Astros had a day game with the Cubs on Thursday, traveled to St. Louis, and didn’t play until Friday night.  Would it be likely for some of the players to rent a car and go out to eat on Thursday?  Visit the zoo at Forest Park on Friday morning?  Play nine or 18 holes of golf? — The Whitmans, Nashville

Good question. There is definitely an abundance of down time on the road, and that can be a good thing or a very boring thing, depending on what city you’re in.

Teams leave a city immediately following the last game of the series. The buses depart from the stadium 45 minutes after the game is over, and usually, the team is in the air within two hours of that last out. So, to use the last road trip as an example, the Astros played a day game in Chicago last Thursday and traveled to St. Louis that evening.

Typically, players take it easy during the day. You’ll see a lot wandering around downtown, shopping, picking some stuff up for their kids. (In cities like Chicago, it’s not unusual for five or six players to walk into the clubhouse with pink bags from the “American Girl Place,” located near the team hotel.)

In cities like Washington D.C., a lot of players take advantage of the free time to tour the historical landmarks and museums. In some of the less exciting cities, players usually hang out in their rooms, go to lunch with a few teammates and head to the ballpark around 2:30 or 3.

A lot of players and broadcasters also play golf if there is an offday on the road.

During the summer months, lots of players bring their families on the road with them. The California trips are also well-attended, considering so many are from there, and you’ll see a lot of families go to cities like Chicago and New York. Chicago is especially a draw, considering most Cubs games are played in the afternoon, which provides a rare opportunity to actually go out for a nice dinner.

Once you’ve been in the big leagues for a while, the travel gets a lot less exciting than it seems from the outside. And for players with young kids, well, road trips are good for one thing…sleep.

Do you know where Aaron Boone will start his rehab assignment?  Will he spend any time with the Corpus Christi Hooks? — Nick

Boooooooone is expected to begin his rehab assignment on Monday in Corpus Christi. He is expected to remain with Corpus until the third week in August, when he is slated to go to Round Rock.

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On the radio the other day, I mentioned that I’d like to see Jason Castro be considered for a September call up when rosters expand the first of the month. I probably should read the Astros game notes a little closer, because spelled out very plainly in black and white a couple of weeks ago was this blurb:

Astros minor league catcher Jason Castro has been selected to be one of the two catchers to represent the United States in the upcoming 2009 IBAF World Cup. Members of the USA roster will report to Cary, NC on Sept. 1 and will arrive in the Czech Republic on Sept. 6.

This is a pretty big deal, and a huge feather in the cap of both Castro and the Astros. I’m guessing the experience will be amazing, even if it does eliminate Castro’s chances to get a small taste of the big leagues before the season’s over.

I guess we’ll have to table the “Castro the Astro” headlines until February.

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Faith and Family Night, featuring MercyMe, will be held at Minute Maid Park on Saturday, August 22.

Each ticket package offered includes a game ticket and concert voucher and packages are subject to availability. For fans who already have tickets to the August 22 game, concert vouchers may be purchased at the Minute Maid Park Box Office for $10.

Click here for more information.

“Kids Free All Summer” runs through the next homestand, which ends Aug. 23. Kids 14 & under get in free with the purchase of one adult tickets. Two kids per adult.

For you non-kids, try the Bud Light Young Professionals Pack: a ticket in the FiveSeven Patio bar, eight wings or nachos, a 16 oz. beer or soda, Astros souvenir mug — for $48. Offered every Saturday. 

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Questions? Send to askalyson@astros.com

2 Comments

suck up…

I wish sanbog would stay silent. Alyson, we like you.

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