Well, this was a great day. Just ask Jacob Barrios and the NYPL champs.

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When you work inside the baseball industry long enough, you become somewhat desensitized to a lot of what goes on around you — things that at one time may have had more of an impact, but at some point, you just get used to. There are the exceptions, however. No matter how long I’m in this business, I never, ever get tired of watching a kid’s face light up when he or she meets a Major League player.

On Tuesday, Hunter Pence made the day of one pretty special kid — special enough that he beat out 1,600 kids to become the winner of the Astros and Whataburger “Take A Player to School” contest.

Parents, relatives and friends of area first through seventh graders were invited to write an essay why their friend/loved one was deserving to “take a player to school” once the 2010-11 academic year began. Jacob Barrios, a 13-year-old seventh grader at Landrum Middle School, was nominated by his grandmother, who noted Jacob’s perseverence during some pretty tough challenges in his life, including losing an infant brother last year and struggling with dyslexia and Irlen’s Syndrome.

Despite these challenges, 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 was rewarded in a big way on Tuesday. He first was personally escorted to school in a limousine by Astros mascot Junction Jack, and later, he met with Pence, with whom he and his buddies had lunch (provided by Whataburger).

After lunch and a few dozen autographs, Pence visited with Jacob’s Language Arts Class and checked out a bunch of Jacob’s artwork. All in all, it was a fantastic day that involved a ballplayer who extended a kind hand to a great kid who was more than deserving of a most distingished honor. The pictures tell the story. Enjoy. (And be sure to check out the video here.) And a hearty congrats to Jacob and his family, who were most gracious hosts on a great day.

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The voting has begun to decide what flavor of Blue Bell we serve at the Social Media event in the Budweiser Patio on Sept. 19. Please look over the choices and tweet me your vote by the end of the day Thursday:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – A rich, creamy ice cream with chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough and chips of dark chocolate.
 
The Great Divide – A great combination of their famous Homemade Vanilla ice cream and rich, creamy Dutch Chocolate ice cream in one unique carton.
 
Caramel Kettle Crunch – A tasty combination of creamy vanilla ice cream with crunchy caramel-coated popcorn and a smooth caramel sauce.

If you haven’t signed up for Social Media Day, you can do so by clicking here.  Tickets cost $35 and include a tour, a t-shirt, ticket in the Budweiser Patio, an appearance by Chris Johnson, trivia contests (prizes will be signed baseballs and signed bobbleheads) and lunch (trio of sliders and Blue Bell).

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Since so many of our Social Media participants are also college students, this seems like a good time to float out a friendly reminder that this Friday, Sept. 17, is College Night at Minute Maid Park.

Tickets start at just $7, and the event includes:
* Pregame mix and mingle in FiveSeven Loft featuring $3.75 drink specials
* The first 200 college students to arrive at FiveSeven Loft will receive a College Night T-Shirt
* Post-game concert in the FiveSeven Grille with Robert Ellis and the Boys presented by 29-95.com.

To order tickets, please click here.

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Congratulations to the Short Season A Tri-City ValleyCats, who won the New York Penn League championship by sweeping the best of three series over Brooklyn.

And a huge thanks to Astros Player Development Coordinator Allen Rowin, who sent these up-to-the-minute celebration shots immediately after the last out was made…

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Clubhouse celebration

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A great post-celebration shot of manager Jim Pankovits.

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For more coverage, check out Tri-City ValleyCats Assistant General Manager Vic Christopher’s account of the clincher:
http://blog.timesunion.com/christopher

 

1 Comment

The video of them winning was awesome. As someone who follows the Minor Leagues heavily, it was great to see a bunch of familiar names jumping into a pile together.

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