Go Astros!

Some time in the first year to year-and-a-half of my life, my parents moved to Houston. My dad had joined the Navy for a two-year stint, and would be spending nearly one of those on a Mediterranean cruise aboard the USS John F. Kennedy. My grandparents lived in Houston, and would help my mom look after their only grandchild.
My grandfather was a regional sales manager for a major tobacco company. He had season tickets to Houston Oiler football games and Houston Astro baseball games. He took clients to games. He gave the tickets away to clients, and if they didn’t want them, to friends. And once my dad’s time in the Navy was over, he took my dad.
And me.
I was only three or four, but there are two or three memories clanking around in my noggin of going to Astros games with my dad and grandfather. I remember the night they gave away baseballs. I remember hurling mine, still in the plastic bag, toward the field when the the team came out of the dugout. It was time to play ball, and I guess I wanted them to play with mine. Dad tells me I clonked someone on the head a few rows down, and cried because no one threw the ball back to me. My grandfather would sneak away and get me another one, but he didn’t let me know, and he hung on to it. My grandmother tells me it’s somewhere in a box in their house.
You can understand, then, why I may have a little affinity for the Major League club in the southern portion of the Lone Star State.
Someone–my grandmother or my parents–also has the orange Astros ball cap that I had during those years. I need to get that; it would be great for my son to wear.
For the first time in their 44-year history, the Houston Astros are going to the World Series. To meet a club that hasn’t been to the Series in 46 years. A historic Series, to be sure, and one that I hope is not one-sided in either team’s favor. (Okay, maybe a little one-sided in one club’s favor.) Biggio and Bagwell, among the last of the franchise players in Major League Baseball, are getting their shot at the championship title, and it’s been a long time coming. Eighteen years for Biggio. Eighteen years he’s been trying with the Houston Astros. Craig, your loyalty and hard work have been rewarded.
My grandfather severely injured his back and one of his legs around the time I was five. It badly disabled him, and I remember climbing the stairs of my grandparents’ house to go visit him in his bed. I don’t remember going to any baseball games after that. My grandfather retired, and when we moved to Baton Rouge in the summer of 1976, my grandparents followed shortly thereafter. Their other son and his new family were living there, too, and the entire extended family was in one location.
Houston is the closest city with a Major League team to Baton Rouge, and you’ll find Astros fans throughout Red Stick. We still followed the Astros, but it was mainly through the stories on the sports page than anything else. It took the move in 1998 that brought my wife and I to Dallas for me to discover a love for Major League baseball, but I’ll never forget the seed that was planted in the early 1970s by my dad and grandfather.
Granddaddy, I wish you were here to see the Astros now.