I’m beginning to wonder if I was the only one who wasn’t at J.D.’s record-setting game 25 years ago
Sitting behind me in the Astros’ press box before Friday’s game was KTRH sports talk show host Matt Thomas, a native Houstonian who on Sept. 23, 1986, was a 14-year-old kid sitting in the lower level of the Astrodome, down the first base line.
Sitting next to me in the press box is MLB.com reporter Brian McTaggart, another native Houstonian who was also at that game on Sept. 23, 1986. Tags was at the time a 16-year-old Astros fan, and that night, he scored tickets in the loge level near right field.
In the radio booth directly next to the press box is Alex Trevino, the Astros’ Spanish radio broadcaster who was catching for the visiting Dodgers that night on Sept. 23, 1986. A few doors down in the GM booth is Enos Cabell, one of Trevino’s Dodger teammates in 1986.
And in a booth between Trevino and Cabell is TV analyst Jim Deshaies, who happens to be the main reason why everyone remembers that game so distinctly.
Deshaies, a 26-year-old rookie in 1986, set a Major League record by striking out the first eight batters he faced in that start against the Dodgers. Friday marked the 25th anniversary of that unforgettable game, one that could have reached even more historic proportions had Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda not pulled his pitcher for a pinch-hitter with two outs in the third inning.
J.D. offered up some great memories of that night in this fantastic McTaggart blog. I don’t know which part I like better, the photo of the ticket stub from that game that Tags still has to this day, or J.D.’s recollection of the conversation he had with Alan Ashby while shaving after the game the next night.
Either way, it’s great stuff and definitely worth the read.
Many miles away in a Minor League ballpark far, far from Houston, there is a bat boy who has made quite the name for himself over the last few years. Charlie Constantine has been with the Tri-City ValleyCats — the Astros’ Short Season A affiliate — since 2005. This season, he reached a milestone by reaching the 300-game mark as a ValleyCats batboy.
To commemorate the occasion, the folks at Tri-City organized — what else? — Charlie Constantine Bobblehead Day.
But that’s not where the story ends. Chris Chenes, The ValleyCats Media/Production Manager, swung through Houston on Friday for an Astros weekend getaway, and he brought three Charlie bobbleheads for three former ValleyCats who have a special affinity for their favorite batboy: J.D. Martinez, Bud Norris and Brian Bogusevic. He presented them to the players in the clubhouse before Friday’s game.
Martinez said Constantine is the “most intense batboy” he’s ever known. Apparently, Charlie sprints down the line chasing baseballs and even stretches with the team before batting practice.
When the ValleyCats won the New York-Penn League championship, they hoisted Constantine on their shoulders and chanted “Charlie! Charlie!” Nice to see the support staff get a little love, too.
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