Road trip roundup: Travel tidbits, Crazy Crab’z and Dog Day in San Fran.
Received this two-part question from a reader recently: When a player is called up from the Minor Leagues or acquired mid-season in a trade and needs to be in uniform the next day, how is it that a team is able to outfit him with a jersey with his name and number so quickly? And when a player does get called up or arrives via trade, does the team pay for housing, or is he on his own for living accommodations right away?
I really had no idea, so on Sunday morning in San Francisco, I cornered the two people who would know: visiting clubhouse manager Steve Perry and traveling secretary Barry Waters.
First, the uniforms: the team has a stack of blank jerseys, with loose letters and numbers in the trunk. That trunk goes with them everywhere. The clubhouse manager and his staff will call the player’s old team to get his jersey size and will either ship the jersey off to the visiting clubhouse where the Astros are headed if they’re going on a road trip, or, if the team is in the middle of a homestand, they will sew the name and number on themselves.
The Astros have two people they utilize for help in the sewing department: Geraldine Liborio, wife of Equipment Manager Emeritus Dennis Liborio, and Perry, who has a sewing machine in his office and does most of the stitching when a visiting player is on his way to Houston.
(I’ve known Steve “Oh Sherry” Perry for almost 15 years and I never knew he was so multi-talented. Here I thought his greatest achievement was having the same name as the lead singer of Journey. Turns out, we have our very own Betsy Ross on staff.)
If the team has more than a day’s notice that a player is coming — which rarely happens — Majestic, the manufacturers of the Major League Baseball jerseys, can send the team a jersey with the player’s name and number sewn on.
Now, about housing: when a player gets called up or is traded to the Astros mid-season, the team has to pay for his hotel room for seven nights. That player will also receive a per diem for seven days. Every time he is called up, he gets seven days of hotel accommodations.
So, for example, When J.B. Shuck was called up not long ago, he was put up in a hotel on the Astros’ dime for a full week. He was sent back to Oklahoma City a few days ago but is expected to be back sometime soon after Sept. 1, and when he does get called back up, he’ll get another seven days’ worth of housing and meal money before he’s on his own again.
If you’ve been following this blog through the road trip, you’ve probably noticed that we sampled a lot of ballpark fare throughout the week. All of it was delicious, none of it was cheap, and it was worth the extra calories and cash to enjoy some of the better eats at two of the finest ballparks in baseball, Coors Field and AT&T Park.
The last item on the to-eat list was the Crazy Crab’z Crab Sandwich. This concession stand is located in center field at the Giants ballpark, caddy corner from Orlando’s Caribbean BBQ, home of the sentimental favorite Cha Cha Bowl.
The Crazy Crab’z Sandwich is far and away the most expensive item I’ve ever come across, at any ballpark. This dish will run you a whopping $15.75, and while it’s absolutely delicious, I’m not sure I would be able to make this a regular stop if I frequented Giants games (which, obviously, I do not).
The crab meat is mixed lightly with mayo and served with sliced tomatoes on crisp sourdough bread grilled with garlic butter. The portion is generous and the blend of flavors is delicious. My main taste-tester for the week, Jim Deshaies, echoed a similar sentiment after digging in his half of the sandwich: “The crunch of the bread with the creaminess of the crab is very nice,” he said. “Texture is vital for a sandwich.”
Photo of the day:
The Giants had their version of Take Your Dog to the Park Day on Sunday, with thousands of fans pouring into the stadium to parade their pooches around the warning track in the hours leading up to game time.
The outfits ranged from funny to creative to completely outrageous, so there was plenty of eye candy, so to speak, to take in during the elaborate walk around the park. A few of the Astros players came out to watch the barking brigade unfold. My friend and former colleague at MLB.com Chris
Shuttlesworth was down on the field snapping photos of Dog Day and captured this image of J.D. Martinez, Angel Sanchez and bullpen catcher Javier Bracamonte taking in the scene:
Incidentally, the Astros have their own Dog Day, which includes a Pooch Parade around the park, coming up on Sunday, Sept. 4. To read the full details and purchase tickets, click here.
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