added 3/19/2007 by Mike Capps
I'm back in Round Rock after our annual trek to what I consider one of several baseball meccas in this country, the Houston Astros Spring Training base in Kissimmee, Florida just outside Orlando. If you are a baseball fan like me, you hate when the season ends. You literally count the days until pitchers and catchers report. Being in Kissimmee means one thing to me...it's almost rock and roll time.
For the eighth year in a row, a group of Express front office staff took members of the Austin and Round Rock media, and a few sponsors to the Osceola County stadium complex for a look at both major leaguers and minor leaguers as we make final preparations for the 2007 season.
If you have never been to the Astros complex, you owe it to yourself to save your sheckles and head down there. What a treat! An outstanding major league spring training ballpark, and several top flight minor league fields where tons of pre-season instruction and pre-season games take place, right at a fan's fingertips.
As an Astros fan you literally can watch youngsters grow up in the system. Young men who will begin their seasons in the lowest, A-ball reaches, all the way to the Houston Astros, get ready on these fields. And if you are lucky, you can walk from minor league games and into an Astros Spring Training game, all in one day.
Round Rock Express fans and media have a special interest because over the course of eight spring trainings at Osceola County Stadium we have seen some great young players not only grow but flourish for Houston.
That thrill started in the middle of the Texas League Championship season in 2000, our first in business, when reliever Jason Green made the two step jump from the Express to the 'stros. Later that year, immediately following the game that clinched the TL title, 2B Keith Ginter and 3B Morgan Ensberg found out in a post-game announcement that they would be spending the final month of that campaign in Astros livery. Imagine the thrill of winning a championship, then learning you are heading to the big leagues!
The Astros brass promised excellent character. They delivered in spades. Think about it. Roy Oswalt, Ensberg, Jason Lane, Chris Burke, Luke Scott, Eric Bruntlett, Dave Borkowski, Humberto Quintero, Brad Lidge, Chad Qualls, are current Astros who've called The Dell Diamond their home park. And obviously, more are on the way.
And we first get to know these guys in Kissimmee. We hope we see you at the Dell Diamond for the Astros exhibition game on March 29th, and hope to see you several times during the regular season.