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A night at the ballpark

Here’s where I was last night, along with my dad, thanks to my friend Danil and a last-minute invitation of extra tickets:

Some thoughts from the game, in no particular order:

– Good decision #1: We parked a fair distance from the stadium, near Milam and Rusk, and walked. This enabled me to rationalize the beer I bought, it totally avoided traffic, and it was free to boot. What more could you want?

– The pedicabs were out in force. These have apparently been around since the Super Bowl, but I can’t say I’d noticed them till this year. Lots of people took advantage, though we chose to hoof it.

– Rudy Giuliani was in town for the state GOP convention, and he threw out the first pitch. In a show of bipartisan unity, my dad and I reached across the aisle and booed him lustily.

– My camera has a pretty good zoom lens. Here’s Derek Jeter leading off the game:

And here, pulled back a bit, is the first pitch:

There were a lot of flashbulbs popping when Jeter and Alex Rodriguez took their first turns at bat.

– There were quite a few fans wearing Yankee colors, but the Astros crowd was loud and proud.

– Good decision #2: Buying the 24-ounce Shiner beers, instead of the regular 12-ounce size. At the price ($9.50) for twice the beer, it’s actually a pretty good deal. The beer vendors are going to rake in the tips this weekend, with all three games sold out.

– Who knew Shiner made 24-ounce bottles? I must not shop in the right stores.

– The Astros not only have recycling receptacles everywhere for cans and bottles, they also ran a PSA video pointing this out to fans, and explaining that every time you stick a bottle or can into one of them, you can win free tickets to upcoming games. The beer vendors were also recycling their glass bottles. Now that’s how you do it!

– In the top of the 9th, the home plate ump called Jose Valverde for a balk; he apparently fast-pitched Jason Giambi with Hidecki Matsui on first. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pitcher called for a balk for not coming to a complete stop in the stretch before delivering before.

– Two people in our row actually left the game during the bottom of the ninth. What kind of baseball fan does that in a one-run game with the tying run on base? After Wiggington was nailed stealing second, some others joined them, and that I understood a bit more. But still. It was a one run game in the bottom of the ninth! Where’s the fire?

– Best of all, we get to see tonight’s game as well. Woo hoo!

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6 Comments

  1. Rhode Island Liberal says:

    I saw you buying that beer, but I figured you had seen enough fo me for the day.

  2. Your sister says:

    That is an AMAZING picture of Derek Jeter!

  3. Kevin Whited says:

    ** I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pitcher called for a balk for not coming to a complete stop in the stretch before delivering before. **

    Really?

    That’s surprising. It’s not frequent, but if you log many innings watched, you’ll see it from time to time.

  4. Yeah, it’s weird. I think there are a lot of uncalled balks happening, because the quick-pitch is pretty common. I think most lefty pitcher balk on the majority of their pickoff attempts – Andy Pettite is a prime example – but they get away with it. Which is fine, I guess – I think the balk should be for egregious things, not borderline judgment calls – but the rules are there and they’re not enforced. When I’m named Commissioner, this is something I’ll work on.

  5. Jack Cluth says:

    You know, as little as I miss Houston (and I really, really do NOT)…I must admit to having a soft spot for The Juice Box. For my money, it’s still the best place to watch a baseball game. It may not have the magnificent location of, say, Dodger Stadium or PNC Park in Pittsburgh, but it’s still hands-down my favorite, especially when the roof is open.

    Sadly, in Portland we’re stuck with a decent AAA team and a decent AAA stadium, but it’s just not the same.

    Outside of TexMex, Minute Maid Park is about the only thing I can honestly say that I miss…and I miss it more than I thought I’d might.

    Thanks for bringing back a few memories for me, Chuck. Enjoy the game!

  6. Valerie says:

    “and explaining that every time you stick a bottle or can into one of them, you can win free tickets to upcoming games. ”

    Yeah, but those recycling receptacles that let you win prizes aren’t located on all the levels. I have a mini-season ticket package and so go to lots of games, and I’ve only seen one of these machines (the exact one in the commercial) and it’s on the lower level. If your seats aren’t next to it, it’s a long trip (fighting a crowd after the game) to get to it. They do have recycling trash bins everywhere, but you’d think for the way they advertise the prize one, they’d have more of them around.