The Houston Astros will have a busy end to their spring training. Though many are disappointed with top prospects being sent to the minors, the team should benefit in the long run. The club needs continue to prepare for the regular season while determining which players will be part of the future.
Last March the Texas Rangers played a 2-game exhibition series in San Antonio against the San Diego Padres. This year will feature Texas’ two major league teams in an event that has been dubbed Big League Weekend. The event is a collaboration between Ryan Sanders baseball and the city of San Antonio to bring major league baseball to the area. More than 75,000 people turned out for the exhibition series last March.
Jose Altuve and Mitch Moreland (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)
With Reid Ryan in the organization, the Houston Astros will be involved in Big League Weekend this season. One of the goals is to help rebuild a fan base in the San Antonio area. More specifically, Ryan understands the importance of the I-35 corridor between San Antonio and Round Rock. Ownership of the central Texas geographic region is a critical goal towards long-term success.
These intentions are obvious. The Astros have struggled at the major league level for the last couple of seasons which has given way to the Rangers dominance across the region. Perhaps this weekend will help some fans transition back to the Astros side. Though the sneak peak of the Lone Star Series isn’t likely to have a significant impact unless the Astros make some strides during the next couple of seasons, it is a good starting point.
So as the slate of Grapefruit League ballgames comes to a close, the Astros will end Spring Training with four games in three days. The 2-game exhibition set against the Rangers will occur on March 28 and 29 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. And, in a somewhat curious form to conclude preseason baseball, the Astros will host a Mexican League team at Minute Maid Park on March 29 and 30. The Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz will be making their first appearance in Houston. So the two Saturday ballgames will feature a split-squad group of Astros players.
San Antonio’s Hyatt on the Riverwalk will host a Hall of Fame Luncheon the Thursday preceding the exhibition series. Nolan Ryan will make an appearance along with Ferguson Jenkins, Lou Brock, and Gaylord Perry. Rangers’ iconic figure Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez will also be in attendance.
After all is said and done the organization has one day to relax. Then as the calendar turns to April, Astros baseball will return.