Results tagged ‘ Michael Bourn ’

Oswalt merchandise, Castro news, and other offseason tidbits.

 

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(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.

 


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Groundbreaking ceremony and Build-a-Bear. Hawkins has had a busy week.

Nine months after they announced plans to open the second MLB Urban Youth Academy, the Astros ceremoniously tossed the first pieces of dirt at the very spot where the facility will reside in less than a year.

The story detailing the event can be read here, and below are several pictures to illustrate the groundbreaking ceremony, attended by dozens of Astros and Major League Baseball dignitaries.

Michael Bourn and LaTroy Hawkins looked like they were enjoying this part, especially while trying to the throw dirt far enough that it grazed the photographers taking their picture.

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Major League Baseball and the Astros contributed $600,000 to the construction of the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park, which equaled the contributions by both the City of Houston and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

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Hawkins was introduced by Darrell Miller, director of the Urban Youth Academy, at the “Wanna Play?” event. The program provided various baseball activities such as batting and pitching cages, baserunning contests, wiffle ball games and demonstrations by Bourn, Hawkins and Wesley Wright and Dave Clark. Wanna Play? was launched at the 2009 Gillette Civil Rights Game in Cincinnati and is intended to provide baseball activities to young people in urban areas.

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Wright.

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Bourn.

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It doesn’t matter how bad a season is or how anxious the players are for it just to be over…there’s always time to have a little fun. Or, in Hawkins’ case, a lot of fun, thanks to a rookie hazing ritual that is alive and well in the Astros’ clubhouse.

I have a tremendous amount of access to all the behind-the-scenes action at the ballpark, but I’d trade several of those pictures for just one of Hawkins at Build-A-Bear, where he took the painstaking steps to order one bear for each of his rookie teammates.

Rookies have to carry the bears with them everywhere they go, minus the field, of course.

Hawkins didn’t just order the bears. He dressed them up and gave them birth certificates and names. Bud Norris’s bear is named “Dew Ruu,” after pitching coach Dewey Robinson. Chris Johnson’s is named Adam Piatt, after the former big league player who happened to attend the same high school as the young third baseman. Tommy Manzella’s bear is named “Scarface,” while Wilton Lopez’s is called “Suba,” a nod to bullpen catcher Strech Suba.

I can hardly wait to see what getups Hawkins and his veteran teammates have picked out for the “Rookie Road Trip,” which inevitably will take place sometime during the Philly-New York swing. Whether the attire is Hooter’s outfits or hula skirts — or worse — I’ll be sure to snap lots of pictures and post them on this blog.

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I recently quelled any notions that Jim Deshaies had a chance to become the Astros’ next manager, but apparently, there are still some out there who are holding out hope.

Yesterday, I received this in the mail — not signed, with only “Austin” in the postmark:
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Turns out, just about every sports reporter in the city, plus Lance Berkman and J.D. himself received the same mailing. I especially like the part at the bottom, where the anonymous lobbyist reminds us to “Join the movement, feel the excitement.”

(The envelope also included a Deshaies baseball card, which truth be told, I was kind of fired up about.)

Yes, Puma, taking pictures is now my full-time job.

And he can barely contain his excitement:
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Seriously, though…great to see the team back in town, and really, really great to see hitting coach Sean Berry, who’s back from a three-week hiatus after having a cancerous kidney removed. He looks great and says he’s feeling good. Obviously, his team — more specifically, the hitters — were happy to see him. Here he is with Geoff Blum:
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And with Puma:
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And Coop:
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Jose Valverde has rejoined the team, even though he’s just now taking the very small steps toward returning to the mound. Here he is hanging behind the cage with the coaches:

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And last but most definitely not least, here is my somewhat frazzled friend Brian McTaggart…it’s his first day on the job as the new Astros beat writer for MLB.com. I taught him everything I know…but don’t hold it against him. Next to him is the Rockies MLB.com beat writer, Thomas Harding.

(Next time you email Tags, ask him about the Astros chances to get Ben Sheets and trade for Jake Peavy. He likes that.)

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Bits and pieces from postgame interviews…
Roy Oswalt:
“Hopefully, this homestand, we can get something going.”

On his early-season struggles::
“No matter how long you play this game, you’re going to run into a skid when you’re not playing well. Even some Hall of Famers have hit some skids along the way. You’re only human — a lot of people go through different things. It’s how you work out of it.”

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As Carlos Lee exited the clubhouse, he high-fived Sean Berry and said, “I missed you man. I haven’t done anything in two weeks.” Perhaps not so coincidentally, Lee logged his first RBI in more than two weeks on the very day Berry returned after a three-week absence.

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If you didn’t see the foul-ball incident involving Michael Bourn in the seventh inning, don’t look for it in the highlights. (It’s one of those injuries that make men cringe.) Anyway, Cooper was asked about it after the game, and he paused briefly, chuckled a bit and said, “I don’t want to talk about that one. We’ll just move on.”

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Fun day at Minute Maid.

Please indulge me while I wallow in a bit of nostalgia with the pictures I’m posting today. The Astros celebrated their 10th season at Minute Maid Park with a pregame ceremony on Tuesday that brought back some of the most popular players and managers in the last decade, and it was great to see everyone again. I can’t remember the last time I saw Shane Reynolds, who has barely aged since he last pitched for the Astros in 2001. Larry Dierker was there, as was Phil Garner, Jeff Bagwell and the newly-retired Jeff Kent, who is happily living in Austin, running a couple of businesses and hanging out with the family. I wonder how long it will be before he misses baseball. He seems pretty content right now.

First, a couple of news and notes from last night’s game:
* With runners on first and second and nobody out in the ninth inning, Michael Bourn was given the bunt sign from the dugout. Although Bourn initially showed bunt, he ended up swinging away, presumably in an effort to fool the Cubs fielders and slap a single over someone’s head. It didn’t work. Bourn ended up reaching on a fielder’s choice, while Jeff Keppinger was erased at third.

Asked about it after the game, Cecil Cooper confirmed Bourn was instructed to bunt and said, “I have to talk to Michael about that.”

But Cooper also defended his center fielder: “In that situation, a lot of times it is tough to put down a bunt, and guys do have the green light to do something with the ball other than bunt it right. Ii thought it was a pretty good play, he just didn’t quite execute it.”

* The Astros’ 3-2 10th inning win over the Cubs marked the first time in a while the game was not won because of a  Darin Erstad contribution. The Astros’ last walkoff win arrived via a home run by Erstad last Sept. 26, versus the Braves, and the club’s last walkoff win in extra innings occurred on Aug. 2 of last year, versus the Mets. Erstad won that one with a sac fly.

On to the photos…

Geoff Blum and Jeff Kent

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Larry Dierker, wearing his signature Hawaiian shirt.

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Phil Garner, Roy Oswalt

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This was kind of a cool shot — that’s Jeff Kent and Russ Ortiz, who were teammates on the 2002 Giants club that lost to Darin Erstad’s Angels in the World Series. To the left is Shane Reynolds; Bagwell is behind Ortiz. The big guy in the middle is Doug Brocail.  

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Jeff Kent, standing alongside 10-year season ticket holders.

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Kent and Bagwell, and Reynolds (looking down). Who’s that man in the middle? Why, that’s Buck, who works for Dennis Liborio in the Astros’ clubhouse.

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Shane Reynolds.

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Reynolds, Dierker, Kent.

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 Alyson Footer is on Facebook and Twitter.

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