February 2012

Astros FanFest to be held Feb. 11 at Minute Maid Park. Details here.

The Astros released the details of their 2012 FanFest, which will take place on Feb. 11 at Minute Maid Park. That is also the day individual regular season tickets go on sale.

FanFest tickets are open to the public with no admission fee.

Player autograph session times will be released soon. There will be a nominal fee for autographs.

Here’s the FanFest rundown, taken from the press release:

This year’s festival will include several current and former Astros players signing autographs, a “Talkin’ Baseball” session with Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow and President & CEO George Postolos, and several activities for children. Fans will also have the opportunity to purchase autographed and game-used memorabilia as well as promotional items and MLB Authentics merchandise. Proceeds from the event benefit the Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy.

Fans will also have the opportunity to paint or sign their name to the Astros 50th Anniversary mural, which will be displayed in the ballpark throughout the 2012 season.

Autograph Sessions

The list of current Astros players scheduled to sign autographs throughout the day are: Brian Bogusevic, Jason Bourgeois, Jason Castro, Chris Johnson, Jed Lowrie, J.D. Martinez, Bud Norris, Humberto Quintero and Fernando Rodriguez. Manager Brad Mills will also be in attendance.

Former players scheduled to sign autographs include Enos Cabell, Jose Cruz, Larry Dierker, J.R. Richard, Shane Reynolds, Bob Watson, Jimmy Wynn and many more.

Talkin’ Baseball Sessions

Astros Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton will host an informative and entertaining “Talkin’ Baseball” session with Luhnow and Postolos, during which fans will have the opportunity to participate. Alyson Footer will also host multiple sessions that day, including a chat with former Astros players and a sneak preview into the Astros 50th Anniversary celebration plans.

Footer will also hold an interactive chat session with Astros manager Brad Mills and right-handed pitcher Bud Norris. The two will interact with fans in person and online simultaneously. The session will take place in the Union Station Lobby, where the two will take questions from fans in the audience and from fans following online.

On The Playing Field

For a small donation, fans will have the unique opportunity to take batting practice on the field of Minute Maid Park. Opportunities to run the bases will also be available. Tours of Minute Maid Park will also be offered.

Signature Nacho Sampling

Minute Maid Park’s culinary team has spent the offseason developing some new recipes. The Astros and ARAMARK, the team’s exclusive food and beverage partner, invite fans to help decide which signature nacho finalist will be featured on Minute Maid Park’s menu. Fans attending Astros FanFest will have the chance to sample and vote for their favorite nachos, which will be placed on the permanent menu in 2012. Signature nacho sampling and voting will be located at section 208 on the Club Level.

Free Kids Activities

Several inflatable games on the field, face painters, balloon artists and a “Talkin’ Youth Baseball” session with Bourgeois are also a part of this year’s FanFest. “Story Time With Milo Hamilton” will feature the Astros radio voice reading a popular children’s story.

This year’s event will also include a Special Valentine’s Day Buffet in the FiveSeven Grille and several entertaining video features throughout the ballpark and on the El Grande video board.

Additional information, including autograph signing times for current and former players, will be released the week of the event.

ASTROS TICKETS ON SALE

In conjunction with FanFest, the Astros will make their individual-game tickets for the 2012 regular season available for purchase beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11. Those tickets can be purchased online at Astros.com, at the Minute Maid Park Box Office or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-877-9ASTROS. Tickets may also be purchased at all Astros regular Houston-area Ticketmaster outlets. The Astros have plenty of special ticket offers available and will not be raising a single ticket price in 2012, as compared to prices at the end of the 2011 season.

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Astros CAREavan, Day 1: Austin and Brownsville, and lots of Astros players.

Every offseason wraps up with a few standard activities, one being the annual caravan, which spans several cities and gives fans a chance to see their Astros up close and in person.

The Astros’ annual trek, cleverly nicknamed CAREavan, took to the highways on Wednesday, with one group heading to Austin and the other south, to Brownsville.

Many of the young players expected to occupy a large portion of the 2012 roster are representing their team this week. Up-and-coming right-handed starter Jordan Lyles, outfielder J.B. Shuck and new addition Kyle Weiland — the right-hander the Astros received in the trade with the Red Sox — are on the Austin portion of the CAREavan, along with pitching coach Doug Brocail.

On the Brownsville trip are third baseman Jimmy Paredes, right-handed reliever Fernando Rodriguez and second baseman Jose Altuve.

The caravan featured school assemblies, Baseball and Softball clinics, a visit to the Ronald McDonald House and signings at Academy Sports + Outdoors.

The caravan will continue on Austin on Thursday, while another group — Jarred Cosart, J.A. Happ, Humberto Quintero and Larry Dierker — will head out for a two-day trip through San Antonio. Meanwhile, Altuve and his group will travel to Harlingen and McAllen.

Free autograph signings at Academy Sports + Outdoors on Thursday are as follows:

Thursday, February 2–Harlingen and McAllen, TX
Jose Altuve, Jimmy Paredes, Fernando Rodriguez, Alex Trevino

Academy Sports + Outdoors
3901 Expressway 83, McAllen, TX 78501
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, February 2 – San Antonio
Jarred Cosart, J.A. Happ, Humberto Quintero, Larry Dierker, Brett Dolan

Academy Sports + Outdoors
7523 N.W. Loop 410, San Antonio, TX 78245
6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m

A pictorial roundup of Wednesday’s activities:

The CAREavan crew participated in a school assembly at Cedar Park Middle School in Cedar Park, Texas, near Austin.

Fernando Rodriguez serves customers at Chick-Fil-A in Brownsville.

The kids at Lucio Middle School made cakes for each of the Astros players. Left to right: Rodriguez, Altuve, Paredes.

Group shot outside of RBI Austin.

The Austin caravan dropped by the Ronald McDonald House for dinner and mingling with families. Shuck, Brocail, Weiland, Lyles.

Weiland coaches kids at RBI Austin.

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