Results tagged ‘ Social Media night ’

On Lyon’s comeback, Social Media Night and your Astros creating a national buzz.

When Brandon Lyon stood at his locker in Arlington last June and explained the details of the surgery he faced the following week, I remember thinking, “it’s over.”

The issue wasn’t so much that Lyon had a rotator cuff that needed fixing or a labrum that was partly responsible for the cyst that delayed his start to the 2010 season. My skepticism came from the mere fact that the surgery he was to have, which involved moving a biceps tendon back to its proper slot, had never been performed on an active pitcher.

It wasn’t a new surgery by any stretch. But the success rate of a Major League pitcher returning to the mound after undergoing this particular procedure?

There wasn’t one, because no one had attempted it. Until Lyon.


Because Lyon is locked into a rather expensive contract and will be paid $5.5 million this season, the last one of his three-year contract, I knew the Astros would be very patient with him during Spring Training. But in all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much.

We are now over the quarter-mark of the season, and I am more than willing to admit this about Brandon Lyon: I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

He’s allowed three runs, total, and none since April 23. He’s had seven appearances in May, all scoreless. Opponents are hitting .143 against him this month.

There was little question about Lyon’s role as closer heading into the season. Given the severity of the surgery he had, there was no way the Astros could possibly believe with 100 percent certainty Lyon would be able to resume the duties of arguably the most important piece of a bullpen.

The Astros did the right thing in giving that job to Brett Myers, who has done a good job as closer and provided stability to a young bullpen. But Lyon’s contributions should not go unnoticed. He appears to be on his way to a very solid comeback season.

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We’re just over a week away from our second Social Media Night, featuring third baseman Chris Johnson (@cjastros23). For those who aren’t familiar with these events, they take place on the Budweiser Patio and include a slew of perks: a game ticket, batting practice viewing, t-shirt, dinner, dessert and an opportunity to win signed baseballs during Twitter Trivia.

Johnson will be with the crowd in the Bud Patio from 5:10 to 5:25 p.m., in advance of the 6:15 start time against the Reds. He’ll hand out the prizes during Twitter Trivia and will pose for photos with the winners (which I will email to you directly).

Tickets are $45 and can be purchased here. Hope to see you there!

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Cool links:

One of the many qualities about Astros radio announcer Dave Raymond that makes him so unique is his ability to take two items that seemingly have absolutely nothing in common and find a parallel.

Exhibit A can be found in his new blog, Everybody Reads Raymond. Ninety-nine times out of 100, you’d be hard pressed to draw comparisons between Charles Dickens and Myers. But our man Raymond finds a way.

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If you’ve been watching the Astros closely this season, you’ve probably noticed most of their games — regardless of whether they won or lost — have been, as I like to say, highly entertaining.

The games have, for the most part, been close and even in losing situations, they’ve been winnable in the later innings. In layman’s terms, that means this team is a fun one to watch.

Scott Miller of CBS Sports, among others, has taken note. Hence, “Astros draw buzz by being competitive.”  Check out the photo they picked to illustrate. No surprise there.

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Social Media Night in Budweiser Patio: food, prizes, baseball, and more food.

Did you know that Bud Norris’s ideal vacation is a Caribbean cruise, and the one road city he prefers over all others is Chicago? Any idea which Astro holds the record for the most career walkoff home runs? Ever heard which Astro in the mid-80s used to stuff fried chicken into his coat pockets before the team boarded charter flights?

Answers to these burning questions, and eight more, were revealed during our first Social Media Night of the 2012 season on Saturday in the Budweiser Patio. Between the appearance by Cudly Studly Budly, the Texas burger topped with brisket and bacon, the pints of Blue Bell ice cream and the major TV time provided by FS Houston’s Patti Smith, this Social Media Night party appeared to be well-received by all in attendance.

We’ll have three more Social Media Nights this year: June 2, July 28 and Sept. 15. Tickets are $45 and include the following: batting practice viewing from just behind the Astros dugout, a ticket to the game in the Budweiser Patio behind center field, an opportunity to win prizes (and meet an Astros player) during Twitter Trivia, dinner, a t-shirt and dessert.

You can purchase tickets to any or all games now.  We will announce the player appearance two weeks in advance of each date. In the meantime, enjoy the photo gallery from a fun night on the Budweiser Patio (P.S.: Charley Kerfeld stuffed fried chicken into his coat, and Jose Cruz owns the career walkoff home run record with six):

Ninth inning rally caps...

...topped only by the ninth inning Rally Baby.

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Sunday roundup: The Matt Downs conundrum, Astros sign more draft picks and photos from Social Media Night.

We had another rip-roaring good time Saturday night in the Budweiser Patio for our latest installment of Social Media Night, presented by Ford Focus.

It’s nice to see a blend of returning patrons and new fans at these events and it’s of course even nicer to see everyone having a great time. Last year, we had two Social Media Nights, but we decided to make it a monthly thing this season. The program includes a ballpark tour, batting practice viewing, t-shirt, dinner, dessert, ticket in the Budweiser Patio and an opportunity to win prizes through Twitter trivia.

The highlight is always the visit by the Astros player who helps hand out the prizes. Hunter Pence was the guest for our April event, followed by Chris Johnson in May. On Saturday, Brett Wallace joined us and helped distribute 12 autographed baseballs and two autographed J.D and Brownie bobbleheads.
Great times all around, as you’ll see from our slideshow (and the next event is July 16):

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Matt Downs is averaging a home run every 13.7 at-bats, a pretty impressive statistic when you consider he’s only had 82 at-bats this year. His six longballs, amazingly, rank second on the club.

That brings us to the next logical question: should he be starting more games? Brad Mills and his coaching staff appear to be leaning toward trying to get his bat in the lineup with more frequency. But that also brings forth a pretty common conundrum.

It’s like baseball’s version of the chicken and egg theory. Do you play Downs more, which will take away a hugely valuable weapon in the late innings? Or do you keep him on the bench as your most valuable pinch-hitter, eliminating the opportunity to give your hottest bat three or four plate appearances during a game?

Downs is valuable in that he can play all over the infield and appears to really like those late-game situations when he can push the Astros ahead with an extra-base hit. But it’s dangerous to assume a bench player will automatically thrive if given more playing time. Sometimes he’s best left to do what he’s always done really well. When it comes to Downs, I’m guessing the coaching staff is still figuring out how and where he best fits.

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The Astros signed two more draft picks on Saturday, bringing the tally of signees to 31 of the 50 players selected. Right-hander Steven Martin (37th) and catcher Kevin Gonzalez (36th round), both products of Texas A&M, finished the paperwork on the fifth floor of Union Station before Saturday’s game and posed for this photo:

The Astros have signed eight of their top 10 selections and 20 of their top 25. They’ve also signed six non-drafted free agents.
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This date in Astros history, June 26, 1988:

Catcher Craig Biggio makes his Major League debut in a 6-0 win versus the Giants. Biggio walks in the fourth inning and scores the game’s final run after stealing second. Starter Jim Deshaies and reliever Larry Andersen combine to blank the Giants on seven hits. Biggio will get his first hit three days later against Dodgers ace Orel Hershiser, that year’s Cy Young Award winner.

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Photos from Social Media day, and some musings on Brett Myers.

I’m glad we were able to host one final Social Media event before the end of the season, and it happened to fall on what was hands-down the most activity-filled day at Minute Maid Park this year. Between Dog Day, Faith and Family Day, the MercyMe concert and Social Media Day, the Astros were fortunate to actually be able to squeeze in a ballgame.

Or, as Tweeter @MyVidaLocal adequately put it, “I’m thinking if you’re a dog-loving Christian rock fan on Twitter, Sunday’s game is a must-go.”

It wasn’t a must-win, but the Astros took care of business anyway, beating the Reds 4-3 to take the series from the division leaders. All in all, it was a great game, one that more than 70 Tweeters/Facebookers watched from the Budweiser Patio as part of our second (and final) Social Media event of the 2010 season.

Judging from the positive response we’ve received, we’ll be hosting many more of these in ’11. In the meantime, thanks to everyone who attended and made it such a good time. And special thanks to Chris Johnson, who was gracious enough to stop by the Patio and hand out prizes during our Twitter trivia contest.

Come to think of it, Johnson went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two runs scored during Sunday’s game. After Hunter Pence made his Social Media appearance on Aug. 31, he was 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs later that night. And the Astros won both games (Just saying.)

Enjoy the pictures, congratulations to the winners, and hopefully we’ll see you out at these events next year.

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We also had a hot dog building station, and we picked out two photos from that activity. First up, our youngest participant:

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And the most creative decoration…I’ve never seen “Astros” spelled out in onions, so I’m compelled to post:

 

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During our Twitter question and answer session during our Social Media event, @mcrows asked who I thought the Astros’ team MVP is. I’m not sure there is a clear-cut favorite, but honestly, if I had to pick one today, I’d go the unconventional route and select a pitcher: Brett Myers.

When Ed Wade signed Myers last winter, we sensed he could be pretty good, considering he had previously pitched well for a good team (Philadelphia), in a good division (the NL East) and had thrived in some pretty high pressure situations (two World Series).

But no one could have predicted he’d be this good. Not only is he one of just six pitchers since 1920 to pitch at least six innings in their first 31 appearances of the season, but he’s also going to finish the season undefeated at his home ballpark.

Myers is currently 8-0 at with a 2.01 ERA over 14 starts at Minute Maid Park, which is pretty much in line with his career numbers in Houston: 8-1 with a 2.31 ERA over 19 games, including 17 starts. He is scheduled to start Friday in Pittsburgh and once in Cincinnati, which will mean he won’t pitch during the final three-game set against the Cubs Oct. 1-3.

I realize starting pitchers work only once every five days and position players are out there every single game (more or less), and with that in mind, Pence certainly merits consideration as the team MVP. But no one has been more consistent than Myers, and he’s spread it over a full six months. For that, I give him the edge.

What say you?

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