Homestand preview: mystery grab bags, Pence goes back to school, harmonicas and more.

In observance of the ninth anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, the Astros will honor area first responders and military personnel with a special pre-game ceremony. Active members of local police, fire, EMS and military that attend the game in uniform are invited down to the field for the ceremony.

All those wishing to participate should meet at the right field gate by 5:00 p.m.

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Included in the ceremonies will be “Heroes Take The Field” – one  representative from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Houston Police Department (HPD), Houston Fire Department (HFD) and Houston Emergency Medical Service (EMS) has been selected to take a position on the field with an Astros player for the National Anthem and will throw out ceremonial first pitches. Other local heroes will present a giant American flag for the singing of the National Anthem.

The Astros In Action Foundation will also host a Mystery Autographed Baseball Grab Bag fundraiser that day. For $25, fans will be able to purchase a bag that contains one autographed baseball from the Astros current roster. In addition to the current roster, former Astros players and fan favorites Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, Jose Cruz, Larry Dierker, Roy Oswalt and Jimmy Wynn autographed baseballs will be included.

The Grab Bag fundraiser will be conducted at two locations on the main concourse – the Community Clubhouse located behind section 107 and behind home plate at the Astros timeline. Each location will have a full set of the autographed baseballs. The baseballs will be available from the time gates open until all grab bags have been purchased. Proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated to the USO.

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Here’s a story you might enjoy. Imagine being 13 years old and taking a limousine to school and then hanging with Hunter Pence. That’s exactly what seventh-grader Jacob Barrios of Spring Branch is going to do on Sept. 14.

As part of Whataburger’s “Take a Player to School” program, Barrios will be personally escorted to school in his own limo by Junction Jack, and later that morning, he will host Pence as his special guest during lunch.

This past summer, fans were invited to participate in an online essay contest that awarded one lucky student the opportunity to bring a player to school at the start of the 2010-11 school year. More than 1,600 entries were received from parents, relatives and friends of area kids, grades one through eight.

Barrios, who attends Landrum Middle School, has had to deal with quite a few challenges in his young life, including losing his five-month-old brother just before school started last year. Despite suffering from dyslexia and Irlen’s Syndrome, Barrios has made A/B honor roll every grading period and was inducted into the Junior National Honor Society in the spring, at which time he received the Principal’s Award.

Barrios is known as a hard worker and a team player, and he’s about to be rewarded for it, big-time. Wonder how long it’s been since Pence has been in a school cafeteria. Hope he doesn’t forget his lunch money.

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Other highlights from the upcoming 10-game homestand:

Sept. 10: Harmonica Night. The Astros will attempt to set a new Guinness Book record by having close to 10,000 fans play the harmonica after the game that night. The event will take place before the fireworks. (Yes, I’m serious.)

Sept. 12: The Pearland Little League World Series team will be recognized on the field prior to the game.

Sept. 19: The Astros will host the second Dog Day of the season, where fans are invited to bring their dogs to the game that day.

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Oldies but goodies

Whenever we post old pictures on this blog, it usually gets a nice reaction from you guys, so I’ve decided to make it a regular feature as we move to the final stages of the season and into the winter.

For now, we’ll title it “from the photo vault,” because quite frankly, I’m a little travel-weary and not feeling overly creative. Once I rename PumaOneLiners I’ll come up with something clever for this as well.

From the Photo Vault, installment one…we present an image from the 2004 Texas Baseball Hall of Fame inductions, featuring your favorite Killer B’s, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell:

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2 Comments

Maybe you should have a contest for interesting new names for your “from the photo vault” and “PumaOneLiners”. Give away tickets to your Social Media Nights.

Isn’t that Bill McCurdy in the background?

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