Results tagged ‘ Bill Brown ’

Have you hugged your recycle bin today?

0422_garden_blum_kids.jpg

Earth Day has been around for 40 years, but being truly environmentally observant is a relatively new phenomenon for most of us. “Going Green,” of course, is a hip, somewhat new trend, one that the Astros embraced a few years ago and continue to observe today.

The Astros wore green caps during their game with the Marlins, but the true Earth Day celebration began several hours earlier when Geoff Blum, popular television announcers Jim Deshaies and Bill Brown and crews from both the Astros and FS Houston teamed with second graders from Foerster Elementary School to plant seeds in a nearby garden.

0422_garden_blum_brownie.jpg

Blum, Brownie

The morning was spent working several garden beds at the Westbury Community Garden, adding soil and fertilizer and planting seeds that will become fruits and vegetables. Those items will eventually be distributed to Westbury residents and surrounding communities.

After raking several pounds of soil with Brownie and ribbing J.D. for wearing the wrong kind of shoes, Blum got down and dirty, planting seeds alongside the kids while simultaneously posing for photos and signing autographs.

0422_garden_jd.jpg

Deshaies

“It’s a lot of fun to be a part of it,” Blum said. “You go to some of these communities and you think it’s pretty much hopeless, and then all of a sudden, there’s this gorgeous oasis of fruits and vegetables and things and the kids are out here having a blast.
 
“They’re realizing the importance of what growing food is. The fact that these kids get to plant the seeds, watch them grow and then harvest everything that they’ve grown, and get to enjoy it, eat it, give it back to a food bank and things like that, that’s pretty impressive.”

0422_garden_patti_kids.jpg

Patti Smith interviews the kids

0422_garden_kids.jpg

 

0422_garden_group.jpg

An hour south of Westbury, another significant celebration took place when the Astros In Action Foundation and Minute Maid dedicated the newly-refurbished Columbo Field and Buccaneer Field in Galveston.

Drayton McLane, Ed Wade, Grand Slam for Youth Baseball Ambassadors Michael Bourn, and Hunter Pence and former player Jimmy Wynn took part in the ceremony, while broadcaster Milo Hamilton served as emcee.

0422_gsfyb.jpg

Hurricane Ike significantly damaged these two fields and Grand Slam for Youth Baseball, a partnership between the Astros and Minute Maid, restored them to full operation.

Island Little League’s Columbo Field received field turf reconditioning and repairs, infield reconditioning, a dugout-to-dugout warning track, re-worked batting cages and a new electronic scoreboard. 

Galveston West-Isle Little League’s Buccaneer Field received the same repairs plus the replacement of the original on-field concrete walkway with warning track material.

These fields were the eighth and ninth to be refurbished by the Astros and Minute Maid through Grand Slam for Youth Baseball – a community outreach effort that seeks to foster self-confidence, involvement, teamwork and fun among area children.

Astros are on Facebook

Follow Alyson Footer on Twitter  

Questions? Send to afooter@astros.com

Renew your season tickets, hang out with Brownie and J.D.

The season of gifting and re-gifting is behind us, but apparently, the Astros are still in the mood to give things away.

They’re offering new incentives for you to renew your season tickets sooner than later, and judging from the quality of the items they’re raffling off, they’re ready to pay up in exchange for the simple act of, well, paying up.

All full-season ticket and 27-game mini-plan account holders who renew, or anyone purchasing a full-season ticket package or 27-game mini package will automatically be entered into daily drawings to win one of 20  pretty heavy-duty prizes.

Perusing through the list, here are my personal favorites:

Meet and greet with a player on the field before a game
A clubhouse tour and meet and greet with manager Brad Mills
A Jeff Bagwell autographed bat

And, the best one (in my humble opinion):
Sit for an inning in the TV booth with two of my favorite people, broadcasters Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies.

0105_brownie_jd.jpg

The drawing started Monday and runs weekdays through Jan. 29, and if you’ve already renewed (even before the contest started), you’re automatically entered. If you haven’t renewed, you’ll be eligible for all remaining drawings as soon as you do so.

Click here for more details and a full listing of prizes, which includes sitting in the press box for three innings, watching a game with 12 friends and Jimmy Wynn from one of the suites, and sitting on the field for one of the Friday Night Fireworks displays (presumably, you’ll be near the many players who bring their kids onto the field for fireworks nights).

Astros are on Facebook

Follow Alyson Footer on Twitter  

Questions? Send to afooter@astros.com

Oswalt merchandise, Castro news, and other offseason tidbits.

 

ro44_youthred_hat_sm__96892.jpg

(photo courtesy of royoswalt44.net)

Roy Oswalt launched his web site, royoswalt44.net, a couple of months ago, but he just recently added a new element — merchandise.

Oswalt is offering hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts and youth clothing that feature his personal logo, “RO44.” He also has a number of items available bearing the logo of his soon-to-be-opened restaurant, Homeplate Fish and Steakhouse.

 


hp_khakihat_sm__03970.jpg)

Not only are the items reasonably priced and pleasing to the eye, but he’s giving every bit of the money he makes off the merchandise to community/charity efforts in both his hometown of Weir, Miss. and his second home, Houston. The recipients of the proceeds will be revealed at a later time.

Click here to check it out the gear.

________________

Rising Stars Game

You were first introduced to catcher Jason Castro last Spring Training when he was invited to Major League camp, and it’s likely you’ll continue to hear about the former No. 1 draft pick as he makes his way through the Astros’ player development system.

Castro, who spent the majority of the ’09 season at Double-A Corpus Christi, is currently playing in the Arizona Fall League. He’ll be the lone Astros representative to participate in Saturday’s Rising Stars Game, which will showcase the best of the best in the AFL.

The game will be broadcast to a national television audience on MLB Network, and a live feed will also be available at MLB.com, beginning at 7:15 p.m. CT. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has the rest of the details in this story, including information on who will call the game from the booth and other noteworthy tidbits.

_________________

Wanted: A local angle?

Speaking of broadcast booths…

Every October, I wonder why local television announcers are not part of the national postseason broadcast. Imagine how much the broadcast would be enhanced if the networks included announcers who watched every single game a team played that season, beginning with Spring Training. They could certainly provide insight you just can’t get from play-by-play and color announcers who don’t have as much background and anecdotal info as the local guys.

It’s not unheard of to have a third broadcaster in the booth during the regular season, so why not do this during the playoffs? At the very least, they could invite a local guy in to do three or four innings.

Radio announcers call postseason games, but the TV guys are left in the cold. They travel with the team through the playoffs, but they have absolutely no role. I always thought that was a shame. Imagine in ’04 or ’05 if Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies alternated time in the booth with the national announcers. They could provide the same tremendous insight as they do during the regular season. And, if nothing else, at least Willy T.’s last name would be been pronounced correctly.

Just a thought.

_________________

Bourn autograph session

When I hear about a convention geared toward all things male, I can’t help but picture a bunch of Al Bundys sitting on the couch, drinking beer out of a can, belching and telling stories about the four touchdowns they scored in a single game in high school.

But apparently, there’s more to the “Guy Expo” than just lounging around and talking politics and sports. This weekend’s event will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center and promises, simply put, the best of what men like.

Sports will obviously be involved, and the Astros will be well-represented. We’ll have a booth set up at the Guy Expo, and our very own Michael Bourn will be signing autographs on Saturday from 1 to 2 p.m. CT. Former Houston flamethrower J.R. Richard will precede Bourn with his own hour of autographs from noon to 1.

Click here for more information.

Astros are on Facebook

Follow Alyson Footer on Twitter  

Questions? Send to afooter@astros.com 

Astros, Bengals, and man-crushes on Nick Lachey.

I attended college at the University of Cincinnati and lived here a total of 6 1/2 years, and for a long time after I moved away, this was definitely where I considered home. I have wonderful memories of my time in the Queen City and, because my family is only an hour away in my original hometown of Dayton, the Reds trips are right at the top of the list in terms of roadies I look forward to every season.

That said, I also understand Cincinnati isn’t the most exciting city in the league, and there’s not a whole lot to do around here, whether you’re killing time during the day before a night game or looking for a place to unwind after. Sure, there are a handful of decent spots, but the list of desirable destinations is more modest than say, Chicago or New York.

So it comes as no surprise that after the Astros arrived to Cincinnati early evening on Sunday, a large chunk of the team headed for Morton’s Steakhouse, located just a hop, skip and a jump from the team hotel. And it’s also not shocking that they weren’t the only high-profile folks there that night, given the few choices for nightlife in downtown Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Bengals were having their own soiree at a nearby table, and in another corner was Cincinnati native Nick Lachey – the former Mr. Jessica Simpson who cut his teeth in the business as part of the boy band 98 Degrees.

I wasn’t there that night, so I can only give an account based on bits and pieces that certain players have provided for me. Two items I found to be fairly reliable: a) an Astros veteran asked one of the Bengals players to bring their bill over to rookie Bud Norris, who didn’t know it was a joke and ended up paying the whole thing; and b) Tim Byrdak was really, really excited to meet Lachey.

Byrdak tried to downplay it, but that didn’t stop select teammates from referring to him as “Tim Lachey” for a solid hour before batting practice on Tuesday.

Byrdak didn’t go overboard in trying to defend himself, but he did retaliate by hiding LaTroy Hawkins’ glove while pitchers slowly made their way to the field for stretching. I’m not sure that was equal pay back to being accused of having a “man crush” on Nick Lachey, but it was pretty entertaining watching a befuddled Hawkins circle the field looking for a glove that was stuffed in the back of Byrdak’s uniform pants.

 

 

0915_hawk2.jpg

Even though the end result of the game left a lot to be desired, I had a blast hanging out with Brownie and J.D. in the television booth and I hope you enjoyed the tweets and blogs I posted during my time there. I posted some early game shots in one blog; here are some postgame shots to enjoy (and don’t forget, I’ll be in the radio booth Wednesday night):

Brownie makes some last-minute additions to his scorebook just before postgame show begins…

0915_brownie-bending.jpg

The two broadcasters have one last off-air chuckle before the cameras start rolling again.

0915_jd_brownie_postgame.jpg

Here they are talking to studio host Kevin Eschenfelder as the postgame show begins.

0915_jd_brownie_postgame2.jpg

 Astros are on Facebook

Follow Alyson Footer on Twitter  

Questions? Send to askalyson@astros.com  

Hanging out with the popular kids (Brownie and J.D.).

0914_brownie_jd.jpg

Every time I hop on an Astros message board, I’ll read about some funny one-liner from Jim Deshaies or a Bill Brown witticism or some other cool story emerging from the television booth. Selfishly, I find this to be problematic, because sometimes I feel like someone threw a party and didn’t invite me.

While Brownie and J.D. are yucking it up in the booth, I’m in the press box, with only muted television monitors to keep me entertained (um…other than the play on the field, of course. That’s what I meant to say.)

Anyhoo, I thought I’d mix things up a bit this road trip and blog and Twitter/tweet from the broadcast booths during the Astros’ series in Cincinnati this week. So on Tuesday, I’ll be in the television booth with Brownie and J.D., and on Wednesday I’ll move over to the radio side and hang out with radio announcers Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond.

I hope you’ll join in on the fun. You can follow me on Twitter at @alysonfooter, and I’ll be updating my blog a couple of times during the game as well. See/read you then.

___________________

I’ve known Jose Cruz for the better part of 13 years, and while I’m sure he’s gotten mad at some point during that time, I’ve never actually seen him mad. So I was somewhat startled by how forceful he was with his response to Pirates closer Matt Capps’ accusation that he and Miguel Tejada were stealing signs during Sunday’s game.

“Not in the 13 years I’ve been [first base coach] or the 30 years I’ve been in baseball,” Cruz said. “I’m offended, yes. I don’t know how that guy got the idea that I gave the signs to Tejada.”

Other news and notes from the Astros clubhouse:

Jose Valverde is not in Cincinnati but general manager Ed Wade is hopeful the closer will rejoin the team on Tuesday. After ruling out strep throat, Valverde was simply diagnosed with a “virus.” Sounds like the flu, and I’m glad the team had enough sense not to send him on the charter. Being in such close quarters — the clubhouse, the airplanes, the dugouts — it seems like if one player gets sick, they all do.

Consider, for example, a brief spell back in 2005 when it seemed like the entire team had come down with the flu. I recall Lance Berkman walking around the clubhouse wearing a surgical mask and rubber gloves, which really should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the Puma.

Roy Oswalt underwent an MRI on his lower back on Friday, which came back negative. Wade blamed Oswalt’s problems simply on having a “veterans pitcher’s back,” which means when you pitch long enough in the Major Leagues, you’re going to suffer from some wear and tear.

Oswalt added swimming to his workout routine to strengthen his core and will cut down on the running.

Astros are on Facebook

Follow Alyson Footer on Twitter  

Questions? Send to askalyson@astros.com 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 254 other followers