Roy counts his blessings after sifting through the rubble.
The only thing that matters is that Roy Oswalt’s family is safe, that the closet his mom hid in stayed intact as the rest of the house was blown to smithereenes, that his children were with him in Houston when the tornado blew through Choctaw County and that his dad was out of town on a hunting trip, out of harm’s way.
The only things that were lost were material things, and material things, no matter how valuable, just don’t matter. I kept reminding myself of that when Roy spoke eloquently about arriving to his hometown of Weir, Miss., last Saturday to find that the home he grew up in — located about a half-mile from the home he’s raising his family in today — is gone.
I tried to remember that as he described the neighborhood where he grew up looking “like a bomb went off” — cars in trees, homes flattened to the ground — and wondering how he was going to explain this all to his two young daughters who spend as much time at their grandparents’ house as their own.
The small town of Weir, Miss., where everyone knows everyone, is eerily unrecognizable. So we have to be thankful that Roy’s mom and her dog — “I think she loves that dog more than us,” Roy laughed — are OK.
But when Roy was asked if any Astros memorabilia was lost in the tornado and he revealed his 2005 NLCS MVP trophy is now in pieces, likely scattered over hundreds of yards of land, my heart sank. I remember Roy receiving the trophy and promptly handing it to his dad, Billy, who clutched it with pride and beamed as his son credited him for everything good that has happened to him in baseball.
“Just the way he believed in me,” Oswalt said the night the Astros won the pennant. “Growing up, people used to come by and ask why he spent so much time with me out in the yard throwing the ball. Hopefully, those guys are watching this on TV today and now they understand.”
“Never in my wildest imagination did I expect to see a day like this one,” Billy added, holding the trophy to his chest. “I can’t tell you how proud I am.”
Again, things were lost, not lives. That’s what matters. But some losses — childhood pictures, wedding albums, and a gift from son to father — simply hurt more than others.
On a lighter note…
I was reminded of a funny story Roy’s agent, Bob Garber, recently told me about that pennant-clinching night.
Once the celebration subsided and the party cleared out, Bob and Billy headed to the car they rented in a parking lot around Busch Stadium. They had the trophy, of course, and had no choice but to carry it with them. As they walked through legions of Cardinals fans, carrying this big, shiny trophy, they realized they could be asking for trouble. But no one bothered them.
They got plenty of weird looks, but they were more of the “wait…is that…nah, couldn’t be” variety.
Pink in the Park
The Astros went all out for Mother’s Day last year, and they’re currently gearing up for a repeat performance.
Thursday will kick of the team’s annual Pink on the Park campaign to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research, beginning with the signature event, the Pink in the Park Brunch and Bazaar presented by Minute Maid.
The event will raise funds for The Methodist Cancer Center and the Houston Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For The Cure. It’s also a great opportunity to see players hanging out with their moms.
The brunch and bazaar will feature members of the Astros team, their wives and mothers and will be hosted by Honorary Chairs Cara Berkman and Cynthia Berkman. The event will be held in Union Station at Minute Maid Park. The bazaar, sponsored by Team Scotti, opens for shopping at 10:00 a.m. and will remain open until 2:30 p.m. A portion of the proceeds from sales at the bazaar will also benefit breast cancer research. The program, including a raffle and brunch, will begin at 12:30 p.m. A VIP reception will follow the brunch and is sponsored by Kraft Foods and H-E-B.
Tickets to the Pink In the Park Brunch and Bazaar may be purchased by calling the Astros In Action Foundation at 713-259-8979 or by visiting astros.com.
Individual tickets are available for $250 and new this year, bazaar shopping only tickets are available for $50.
Other pink activities will also take place from May 3-9. For a complete listing, click here.
Among the highlights:
Monday, May 3:
Tee Time Ladies Golf Outing presented by Minute Maid. This “women-only” affair will be a shotgun start golf tournament held at Redstone Golf Club, Members Course.
Friday, May 7
* Pink Astros cap giveaway to the first 10,000 fans, courtesy of AT&T
* Pink themed Friday Night Fireworks with a special salute to women
* Girls Night Out, presented by Sunny 99.1. Ladies can enjoy the Astros game together with Sunny 99.1 personality Dana Tyson in a special View Deck I seating section for only $9.91 per ticket.
* Pink pampering expo with vendors from various spas and boutiques will be in Conoco Alley
* Pre-game seminars and discussions featuring Astros wives (“Behind Every Man…”) and Astros staff (“Women in Baseball”) will be held in the Union Station Atrium.
Saturday, May 8
* Pink Astros tote bag given to the first 10,000 fans, compliments of The Methodist Hospital System
* Wine and Cheese Night at Minute Maid Park will be held prior to the game from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. in the Union Station Lobby and will feature Master Sommelier Guy Stout.
* Ticket packages are available for $40 or $60 and include a game ticket, event ticket (two wine pours, wine class, and wine charm).
* A portion of the proceeds from the event and from a special silent auction will benefit breast cancer research.
Sunday, May 9 - Mothers Day
* Pink Astros tee shirt to first 10,000 women 15 and older, provided by KRAFT and H-E-B.
* The Astros will honor a local breast cancer survivor as the team’s Honorary Bat Girl in a pre-game ceremony.
* Astros players will wear a pink ribbon patch and pink wristbands during the game. In addition, a few players will use pink bats during the game which will later be auctioned to raise funds for the cause.
* Astros are donating 200 tickets to the Houston Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure for breast cancer survivors and supporters.
* All mothers will be invited to run the bases with their kids following the game.
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