On dress codes, pregame routines and other pressing issues.

After posting the pictures from yesterday’s travel day, the question I received more than any other was, what is the dress code when the team travels? I think a lot of you were surprised to see the guys so gussied up.

On flights, players and coaches are required to wear jackets and socks, and jeans are not permitted.

Dress codes have varied over the years, depending on who is managing the team. I remember during the Larry Dierker days, the dress code was really, really relaxed — players could wear pretty much whatever they wanted, including jeans. I remember Lance Berkman and Brad Ausmus taking particular advantage of that privilege on a pretty regular basis. I didn’t agree with the jeans part — in my opinion, Major League teams should dress nicely when they are representing their organization.

However, I also didn’t think Jimy Williams’ dress code was necessary either. He was the anti-Dierker — not only were you not allowed to wear jeans on flights, you couldn’t wear them on a road trip, at all. Not even to walk around downtown while killing time before a night game. I thought this was a little extreme.

The dress code nowadays is a nice medium — no jeans on flights, jackets required, but players can wear whatever they want during their free time.

Speaking of dress codes, I would love to go back in time to the 1970s, just to see what players were wearing on road trips. Cecil Cooper often talks about the silk shirts and leisure suits that were high style back then. Coop apparently had three leisure suits, all the same style, but in different colors — pink, brown and green. Yes, pink — not salmon or coral. Just pink.


The Astros played game No. 125 of the season Tuesday and prepared for said game in a clubhouse almost as familiar as the one at their home park in Houston.

The Astros make two to three trips every year to St. Louis so needless to say, they know how to make themselves at home here.

Players arrive to the clubhouse insanely early, but once they get there, there’s a whole lot of nothing going on. Select hitters pass the time by taking extra hacks in the batting cages, while others who are nursing aches and pains or more severe injuries spend their time in the training room. Others plop down on the sofa and watch movies, or hang at their lockers and chat with teammates.

Here we have Jose Valverde holding court with a few of his pitching teammates. Valverde is often the life of the party, as you can see here.

0825_valverde.jpgChess is another popular way to pass the time. Humberto Quintero and Yoshi Ono — Kaz Matsui’s interpreter — are two of a handful of Astros personnel who enjoy the game.


Roy Oswalt met the team at the ballpark Tuesday after spending the last day and a half at his ranch in Missouri, about three hours from St. Louis. Oswalt owns about 3,000 acres of land and spends quite a bit of time there hunting and fishing, two of his favorite pastimes.

Oswalt is featured in a recent issue of “Outdoor Life” in a one-page spread titled ” “5 minutes with Roy Oswalt.” He answers the burning questions everyone wants to know: Why the passion for whitetails? Who’s the better hunter, you or Jake Peavy?

Here he is relaxing with a nice ice wrap on his lower back and “Everyone Loves Raymond” blaring on TV.

0825_oswalt.jpg Around 5:15, pitchers filter onto the field for stretching, followed by the position players. Broadcasters also have their pregame routines — such as radio announcer Dave Raymond, who is captured here conducting a pregame interview with Tim Byrdak.

0825_byrdak_franklin.jpgOn the other side of the dugout, Coop conducts his daily session with the media.


0825_coop_media.jpgAlberto Arias (right), Yorman Bazardo, hanging out before stretching.


0825_arias_bazardo.jpgOne of my favorite ways to pass the time is to take pictures of the players doing the side-to-side shuffle exercises. Those usually translate into some pretty entertaining still shots.

0825_moe_hawk.jpg Chatting with the enemy: Albert Pujols is known as one of the friendlier players in the MLB fraternity. Here he is chatting up Oswalt in between taking cuts in the cage.



Wandy Rodriguez, Tuesday’s starter.

0825_wandy.jpg I showed Puma my Facebook album titled “My favorite ‘Stop taking my picture’ pictures of Puma” and he found it pretty amusing. Then he did a 180 and gave me a friendly pose. Which one do you like better…this one…



…or this one?


 It’s like Bring your Kid to Work Day, only better different.

The Astros are hosting Dog Day at Minute Maid Park, presented by H-E-B, on Monday, Sept. 7. For $20 ($10 of which will go to the Houston Humane Society), you and your dog can enjoy the Astros-Phillies game from the Barking Room only section along Conoco Alley and the H-E-B Dog Zone, featuring Hill Country Fare Dog Food, located in KBR Plaza.

An additional $20 “human ticket” can be purchased with the above package. The deadline to register for tickets is Sept. 3.

The Astros will soon officially release more details, including a list of criteria that would make your dog either suitable or unsuitable to bring to the ballpark. Suitable includes things like being at least six months of age (your dog, not you), vaccinated, in good health and not aggressive toward other dogs. I ran through the unsuitable list but stopped when I got to the part about nasal discharge. I’d rather just post the link to the release as soon as it’s available and let you peruse it at your leisure.

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Questions? Send to askalyson@astros.com 


This is great stuff scrunch. Don’t suppose you could give us an idea of who are some of the closest friends… who likes to hit, um… establishments that serve frosty beverages, etc… without getting too personal?

Either way. Some great pics. Something to keep us interested in this team (because their play sure isn’t).

Thanks for sharing, it’s always fun to see the guys behind the scenes.

Can’t wait to see the information on bring your dog to the park day. I have a miniature pinscher named ASTRO and he’d love the ballpark! 🙂

you need to publicize your blog more. not many people are aware of it. i enjoy your and tags blogs but when i engage in conversation about the content most people don’t have a clue. promote it when you’re on the radio. drive granato nuts.

Great blog, Alyson. Really enjoying these insider views you’re providing.
About Bark in the Park–is it Sunday the 6th or Monday the 7th? My lab Maggie Babe Ruth will be thrilled to take in a game at MMP.
Thanks for the info!

Oops, it’s Monday. I saw the 1:05 p.m. game time and immediately assumed it was a Sunday. I forgot Monday’s game is Labor Day. Will fix now. Thanks sprtsmanda…

Fins2: I’ll answer some of these types of questions on my blogs tonight. But I’ll have to stay away from some of the private stuff, as I”m sure you understand….

Alyson, this is great stuff, love your blog. You can’t give us too many pictures! Would love to see even more behind the scenes stuff. Thanks!

Alyson, Moehler’s ERA is not 4-something, It’s 5.21 and it’s been above 5 for quite some time, his WHIP has gone up this year to over 1.5. He’s not worth anything close to $3 million. Bazardo or Trinidad (or almost anyone else) could do the same for about 400K. This is from a previous post of yours by the way.

Tell Tag to smile. That photo of him listening to Coop makes Tag look grumpy.

Take my dog to MMP? Interesting. If it were “Dogs get in free” they may have more takers.

As always, your blog is SUPER. LOVED the ‘friendly’ pic of The Big Puma with the mitt on his head. Keep up the good job.

Tell The Big Puma your reading public wants you to follow him in the off-season with your camera so that we don’t bored. Then run like the dickens.

Take care and travel safely. And thanks again for all the great pics.

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