Some 4,500 autographs in three days and other Astros activites (including Bud Norris’ birthday).
In addition to the scoreboard staffers gathering all of their material for the season during an abbreviated Spring Training jaunt, other members of the front office are also here to gather loot of a different kind.
Astros Vice President of Foundation Development Marian Harper and Director of Community Affairs Shawn Bertani are in town this week to oversee the massive autograph signing session that is currently taking place in the meeting room on the second floor of the Spring Training facility.
Players are asked to sign a host of items — balls, bats, jerseys, etc. — that will be given away over the course of the season, mostly at auctions, sponsor events and charity functions. In total, approximately 4,500 items will be signed over the course of three days:
Other notables before you head out for the weekend…
* Happy birthday to Bud Norris, who turns 27 today.
I know I’m a bit biased, but I’d rank them higher than that. I willingly, however, leave the No. 1 spot for Vin Scully, universally known as a treasure, and unmatched by any other.
FanGraphs cites the comments for Brownie and J.D. almost always “uniformly gushing,” and I can attest to that, as one of the more vocal gushers.
* The Astros begin their Grapefruit League schedule tomorrow with a 1:05 p.m. CT game against the neighboring Washington Nationals. Tickets for all 15 Astros spring home games are currently available, but the Astros-Yankees game scheduled for March 31 is now at standing room only.
* Livan Hernandez will start Saturday, with J.A. Happ getting the start on Sunday at Washington. Jordan Lyles will start on Monday vs. Atlanta at home.
* The Houston College Classic will get underway at Minute Maid Park today. All nine games will be televised nationally by the Longhorn Network and ESPN3. The Longhorn Network will air each of the University of Texas’ games, while ESPN3 will pick up the remaining six games.
The six-team tournament enters its 12th year at Minute Maid Park and will feature hometown schools Rice University and the University of Houston, who will be making their annual entry into the tournament. This year’s field also includes Texas, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Tennessee. Three of the teams in the tournament are ranked nationally among the top 25 in Baseball America’s poll, including No. 4 Arkansas, No. 5 Rice and No. 21 Texas.