Astros potpourri: Gold Gloves, broadcasting news and charity events galore.
Accolades for Bourn
We lead off, fittingly, with our leadoff hitter, who had his hands full before Friday’s game when he scooped up a couple of well-deserved awards for his stellar season in 2009.
Michael Bourn, the club’s MVP last year, was presented with the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for defensive excellence and the Lou Brock Award, presented to the National League leader in stolen bases.
Brownie, J.D…and Bagwell.
In the years since Jeff Bagwell retired, he’s been hesitant — and by hesitant, I mean wholly disinterested — in getting involved in the television side of the game. Bags shies away from the spotlight, and as polished as he was talking to the media every night as a player, moving up to the broadcast booth — a landing place for so many former players — wasn’t anything Bagwell aspired to do.
I don’t know what changed his mind, but who cares? Saturdays are about to get a lot more fun around here, with Bill Brown, Jim Deshaies and Bagwell teaming up on FS Houston for 13 home games this year.
“It’s something fun to do around the ballpark,” Bagwell said. “Drayton (McLane) and I talked about it thought it would be something kind of fun, would be nice for the fans, and for me.”
He plans to go easy with the criticism, having not forgotten how truly hard it is to play this game and how much slower baseball looks from the press box
“Mental errors, or if someone doesn’t run the bases the right way — that’s the only thing I’ll bring up,” he said. “I am definitely pro-player, I promise you that.”
Below are some images from Bagwell’s autograph session on Friday with kids who registered for Prepared 4 Life’s Lemonade Day event. He’ll do so again on Sunday, signing for kids outside of the Squeeze Play near the right field entrance from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Lemonade Day is a nation-wide event taking place on May 2, which teaches kids the skills they need to be successful in the future. Youth learn to set goals, develop a business plan, establish a budget, seek investors, provide customer service and give back to the community.
Speaking of our lovable former first baseman…if you haven’t caught former Astro Morgan Ensberg’s explanation as to why Bagwell is the most well-respected Astro, probably ever, do yourself a favor and take a minute to read his most recent blog entry.
Not only does Ensberg perfectly illustrate some of the “little things” Bagwell did as the leader of this team for so many years, you’ll also get a hilarious account of the first time Ensberg was called up in 2000. He walked into the gigantic home clubhouse and was horrified to see his locker was right between Bagwell and Biggio. Good stuff.
Make A Wish
Lost in the Opening Day frenzy was a nice side story involving the Astros and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Seventeen-year-old Ramon suffers from Muscular Dystrophy, as does his 15-year-old brother Jose. Along with their sister Vanessa (five), mom Griselda and dad Ramon, the family was invited down onto the field to watch batting practice and mingle with several players.
The kids are huge Astros fans, and Ramon was an avid ballplayer until MD made that impossible. Ramon shies from being the center of attention, but on Monday, he was given the star treatment by the players.
(photos: Stephen O’Brien)
A Gathering of Champions
A lot of you were bummed out when Casey Daigle didn’t make the team out of Spring Training, not because you were so attached to the young right-handed reliever, but because Daigle making the team increases the odds that his better half– wife Jennie Finch — would make a few cameo appearances at Minute Maid Park.
Ironically, she’ll be in Houston in the near future, likely without hubs. Finch, arguably the best women’s softball player on the planet, is one of many sports stars scheduled to attend “A Gathering of Champions,” benefitting Houston Children’s Charity.
More than two dozen former athletes are scheduled to attend the April 30 event, hosted by Paige and Tilman Fertitta. Several have ties (past and present) to the Astros: Bagwell, Nolan Ryan, Craig Biggio and Larry Dierker.
You can find more details about the event here.
Also mark your calendars for the annual Tommy Bahama Island Cowboy Classic, scheduled for Monday, April 26. This is always well-attended by current and former Astros players, as well as many people from the front office and broadcast teams. This year, proceeds will benefit Astros in Action and support the Montgomery County Special Olympics.
For more information, click here.