Results tagged ‘ Jason Bourgeois ’

Holiday roundup: The Sunshine Kids, Boys and Girls Club, Craig Biggio and a not-so-fat (but still plenty jolly) Santa Claus

The Astros haven’t stepped onto a baseball field in quite some time, but their December has shaped up to be almost as busy as a typical month during the season.

In between welcoming in a new owner and hiring a new general manager, the Astros have also been busy in the community, spreading their usual holiday cheer to kids from all over Houston. Two of their recent ventures include the annual Sunshine Kids Christmas Party, and a new event: the ASTROrdinary Clubhouse Christmas party.

The Sunshine Kids party has been a long-standing tradition for as far back as we can remember, and Craig and Patty Biggio’s presence at the party has been just as constant. Dozens of Astros volunteers helped out with face-painting, photos with Santa and other ho-ho-holiday activities. The venue — the gorgeous Children’s Museum — just added to the festive nature of this Sunshine Kids night out.

Biggio chats with a young party goer.

The Sunshine Kids party is a family affair for Quinn Biggio (back, left) and her parents, Craig and Patty, and friends.

"Head, shoulders, knees and toes" is always a crowd pleaser.

Same goes for Junction Jack.

Next up was the ASTROrdinary Clubhouse Christmas party, a soiree that was fun for the 50 kids from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston and for anyone who thinks it’s funny when ballplayers dress up in elf shoes, elf hats and pointy ears (which includes pretty much all of us, no?).

Doug Brocail should be very proud to know that the kids, while appreciative of the effort, didn’t think he was fat enough to really be Santa Claus. Still, the pitching coach was pretty convincing in his red suit, white beard and bushy eyebrows that he needed help sticking on to his face. Lining up behind him with their jingly green slippers were Santa’s elves: Jason Bourgeois, Bobby Meacham, Chris Johnson and Humberto Quintero (or, as Santa referred to him, “Elf Q”).

The kids — first, second and third graders — took a behind-the-scenes tour of the entire clubhouse and then gathered in the team dressing area to watch the movie “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Following the movie, the group moved to the Diamond Club for dinner and a photo session with Santa, who finally let out a big Ho! Ho! Ho! after 15 minutes or so of snuggling with two of his elves.

The kids then received their own special gift, a big box of some seriously cool swag, including an iPod Shuffle and an iTunes gift card.

Taking a tour of the weight room in the home clubhouse at Minute Maid Park.

Brocail -- I mean, Santa -- checking himself out in the mirror.

Chris Johnson, preparing for his debut as the city's tallest elf.

Photo time

Opening presents in the Diamond Club

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Here’s a story that might tug at the heartstrings, regardless of whether you are a Mets fan, or a Jose Reyes fan, or a fan of, well, beer. Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant in New York City, which doubles as a home away from home of sorts for baseball writers, front office staffers and umpires, came up with a fool-proof promotion that accomplishes two goals. It enables Mets fans to wallow in anger and/or self-pity and/or euphoria, while doing something productive for kids in the community.

According to this New York Daily News report, Foley’s, located in Midtown across from the Empire State Building, is offering free libations in exchange for No. 7 Reyes jerseys. Contributing fans will receive, according to the report, free beer to drown their sorrows that Reyes signed with the Marlins, or champagne to celebrate Reyes signing with the Marlins, or appetizers for those who don’t drink and are depressed — or don’t like the Mets but do like appetizers.

The jerseys will be donated to clothing drives. Fans are also asked to donate their Reyes bobbleheads, which will then go to children’s hospitals.

It’s a genius move, really. It gets people to go to Foley’s with promises of free food and drink, and in the end, everyone has made a charitable contribution. A win-win and not at all surprising that Foley’s owner Shaun Clancy came up with such a great idea.

Cheers!

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Houston Youth are ‘Bourn to Wynn.’

By Rachel Frey

The “Bourn to Wynn” three-day leadership program began with a slightly different start than originally planned.

As the participants knew, Michael Bourn, who helped create this program, was traded on Sunday to Atlanta. Jimmy “The Toy Cannon” Wynn, who also helped found this program, helped kick it off on Monday by talking about the qualities good leaders exhibit in their lives. Wynn was joined by Guest Host Madd Hatta from Houston’s 97.9 The Box, who helps facilitate each day’s activities.

“Bourn to Wynn is about dealing with adversity, and overcoming that adversity,” said Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy Director Darryl Wade.

After Wynn spoke, Astros Assistant Director of Media Relations Sally Gunter and KHOU sportscaster Butch Alsandor talked about how their jobs fit together. Gunter showed the participants the products that  media relations puts out, such as media guides, game notes, and the monthly magazine. She also explained how media relations staff schedules interviews with the team for journalists.

Alsandor told about how he uses the information Gunter and the media relations staff send out to create each night’s newscast. Gunter and Alsandor also went on to talk about the paths they’ve taken to get to where they currently are, including explaining how important education and internships are.

Jason Bourgeois joined the program on day two to step in for Michael. As a fellow Houston native, he related well to the participants. He told them about how diligence has positively affected his career. He spent 9 years in the minor leagues, and kept working to earn a full-time spot on a Major League roster. Each offseason, he spends time in the Mexican Pacific League’s winter baseball league to keep practicing and getting better. Bourgeois believes that time has helped maintain his skill level through the off-season. He gives up a lot of time he could be spending with his family to become a better baseball player.

Jennifer Germer, Vice President of Marketing and Ticket Sales, Clint Pasche, Director of Marketing, Kirby Kander, Senior Director of Creative Services, and Brock Jessel, Director of Ballpark Entertainment, joined the youth to share what they do each day at work, and how they got there.  The students were really excited to meet the people who create the bobbleheads (Germer & Pasche), and were excited by the video clips Kander and Jessel brought.  The students asked them many questions, including how did bothdepartments dealt with the changes brought on by the trades.  The staff members told them about some of the changes they made and how they always try to focus on promoting the whole team, and not just players in case something like this happens.

Wednesday’s session focused on setting goals and putting a road map to success into action. Bourgeois, Wynn and Madd Hatta were on hand to lend their experience to the participants.  Head Trainer Nate Lucero joined them on the fields for some stretching and baseball instruction.

Each youth receives a Bourn to Wynn student booklet, T-shirt, poster, certificate, Astros baseball cap, Michael Bourn two-time Gold Glove bobblehead, and a baseball signed by both Bourn and Wynn.  The youths will be recognized before the Astros-Brewers game on Saturday, August 6, at Minute Maid Park with Jason and Jimmy alongside them.

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Clint’s Crew 2: Houston Jr. RBI

 By Rachel Frey

On Friday, May 27, members of Houston Jr. RBI program fwere welcomed to Minute Maid Park by Clint Barmes through his “Clint’s Crew” program. Clint’s Crew hosts kids in the Houston area once a month at Minute Maid Park.

Clint’s Crew groups are given 20 tickets to the game, which are loaded with $10 for food, beverages, or other merchandise. They also received a drawstring backpack filled with Astros items.

The Jr. RBI kids were allowed to watch batting practice on the field, and got autographs from Michael Bourn and Jason Bourgeois before Clint finished his practice swings and came over to meet them. Clint signed hats and baseballs for the kids before they posed for a group picture.

Houston Jr. RBI is made up of children 15 and under, and each coach was asked to pick members from their team for this opportunity. Houston RBI participants are also members of the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy. Over 300 kids participate in the Houston RBI program, and last year, their senior division (18 and under) won the RBI World Series in Jupiter, FL.

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Rachel Frey is the Social Media and Broadcasting Intern for the Houston Astros. She studies Public Relations at The University of Texas at Austin, where she spends most of her time attending Texas Football and Baseball games. Connect with Rachel on her Twitter account: @RachelFrey or on her MLBlog: A Temporary Perspective.

Castro passes first test with a good night behind, and at, the plate.

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A lot of emphasis is placed on what happens during Spring Training, because with five months of nothingness leading up to report day, it’s the only thing available to us to make observations and judgments.

There’s always anticipation to see who makes the coveted Opening Day roster, but while only 25 players can make that first team, inevitably, as the season progresses, many, many players who are cut during the spring show up in the big leagues at some point.

Three months ago, J.R. Towles beat out Jason Castro for the front-line catching job. But today, Towles is with the Double-A team and Castro is an Astro. As far as debuts go, Castro gets an A-plus.

Castro singled in his very first Major League at-bat and threw out two would-be base stealers, but it’s not just his basic stats that were impressive. It’s how he handled himself amid the hoopla that is unavoidable when a former No. 1 Draft picks shows up in the big leagues for the first time.

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The Astros called up three from Round Rock, but taking nothing away from Chris Johnson and Jason Bourgeois, the lion’s share of the media attention was directed toward Castro, the Stanford-educated catcher whom the Astros are hoping can fill a void that has remained empty since the departure of the defensively-savvy Brad Ausmus.

Castro handled the media crush with the ease of a veteran. He spoke with an even tone, answered the questions concisely and calmly and seemed completely comfortable with the attention. He also appeared to be focused when he took the field, and while I’m sure he had quite the adrenaline rush going, he didn’t lose focus.

No one knows how Castro will fare over the long haul and we have to be careful not to put too much emphasis on one game. But singling off one of the best pitchers in the game and throwing two lasers to second base is a pretty good way to start a career.

Images from Tuesday at Minute Maid Park:

Jason Bourgeois will serve as a backup outfielder, in the same capacity as Cory Sullivan. Bourgeois was Round Rock’s most consistent hitter this year.

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The good thing about the young prospects being in big league camp during Spring Training is the familiarity they have with the Major League coaching staff. Castro was reunited with bullpen coach Jamie Quirk, who worked with the catchers all spring.

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Before Tuesday’s game, manager Brad Mills told Pedro Feliz that Chris Johnson, seen below, will take over the main starting duties at third base.

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Hunter Pence chats with Michael Bourn around the cage during batting practice.

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A familiar sight: Pence signing autographs.

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Bourn and Berkman during BP.

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