Astros: 2015 Opening Day Experience With My Son


This is my first opening day as an Astros fan blogger, so I wanted to take my seven-year-old son to the game and give him the best experience I could. It’s very rare that my wife would let me take him to a baseball game on a school night. I wanted to give the readers a taste of the opening day experience if they were unable to make it for whatever reason.

My wife dropped my son off to me at the school I work at so that I could take him to the opening day street festival outside of Minute Maid Park. When we parked at the BBQ place and paid the $30 to do so. Then we started walking towards the stadium. My son told me; “Dad, ever since you told me that I was going to opening day with you, I couldn’t wait for the day to come so we can spend time together!” That is what going to baseball games is about, going to the ballpark and spending time with friends and family over popcorn and hot dogs.

When we get to the stadium, we walked to the other side of the massive building to where the festival is occurring. As we walked, some random Indian fan handed my son an Astros flag that were being passed out outside the ballpark. He made sure to mention that he was an Indian’s fan and screamed “Kluber” when he saw someone wearing an Indians uniform. We thanked him and rushed ahead of him to avoid any more awkward conversation.

As we walked into the festival, it was like entering a convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center–every Astros sponsor had a booth. There was a live band playing in the middle of the blocked-off street, as adults walked around drinking beer on the street. For the kids, there were bouncy houses, baseball pitching games, and this inflatable thing that you put your child in a velcro jacket and throw them against the wall. The kids would then stick to the wall, then you peel them off. It looked fun, but not enough to wait in a long line. I did feel bad for Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio‘s statues, who were divided by bouncy houses. My son offered a lonely Bagwell statue some much-needed attention.

Due to the long lines for the bouncy houses, we went inside Minute Maid park, and my son had to give up the stick from the flag that he got from the random Indian fan for safety reasons. I promised my son I would take him to the playground called Squeeze Play, so he ran and crawled through the tubes. After 20 minutes, and me catching up with a one of my former little league assistant coaches, we then went to our seats. On the way, we stopped for a blueberry snow cone, and headed up to the nose bleed sections. I exaggerate a little. We sat in section 327, and had a great view.

During pre-game activities, Astros mascot Orbit runs from right field to home plate with a sparkling Astros flag and takes out this poor police officer with the flag after the picture above was taken. Jose Altuve was the man of the day, as he received his batting champion ring and a car for his accomplishment. Clay Walker sang the national anthem, and after he finished the song there was a flyover of World War II airplanes.

Then came the emotional time of the night, when Astros legend Craig Biggio was introduced to the home crowd for the first time since being named to the MLB Hall of Fame. He walked up to the pitcher’s mound while Jose Altuve set up in front of home plate. Biggio acknowledges all the fans who are cheering for him as he gets ready to throw the ceremonial first pitch in his suit. Biggio throws a perfect strike to Altuve like he never stopped playing the game. The past and present Astros second basemen pose for some pictures and there is obviously a height difference there.

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The game itself was a fun, fast-paced game with both pitchers on top of their games early. This was the first time that my son was able to keep his attention throughout the game. The crowd was electric throughout, especially after

George Springer

drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. This brought back memories of the 2005 World Series run, with the excitement level in the stands.

One thing that stood out from the night is that Luke Gregerson needs a walk-up song. Like Billy Wagner, he sprinted in from the bullpen to “Enter Sandman!” Because of dance cam, they were playing “Bang Bang,” so hopefully that is not his walk-up music forever. Although, he only threw six pitches, so maybe it should stick around. Even though my son liked it, I’m not a big fan of fans doing the wave in a pitcher’s duel.

The Astros seem like an improved team, but it is too early to call them a playoff bound team. The fans were supporting the Astros on opening day, so let’s hope this support continues during Wednesday’s game as well. A win during an opening night game is great, but we need Scott Feldman to pitch a great game on Wednesday.

My son would like to go to another game with his old man again soon, but requested it be a Friday night game so he doesn’t have to go to school the next day. Overall we had a great time, so to all the dads out there, take your kids down to Minute Maid Park and watch the best team in Texas.

Next: Houston Astros Defeat Reigning AL Cy Young Winner Kluber

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