It was a fun day yesterday at Minute Maid Park as the Texans raised some money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston. It's really interesting to see how competitive these guys are and how nervous some of them got considering that only a few hundred people were there watching.
These are elite athletes so they don't like to be shown up. Considering that most rarely, if ever, swing a baseball bat, it came as no surprise that not too many balls found the bleachers Thursday.
However, a few players had some pretty good swings. Dexter McCleon was actually drafted out of high school and Jeb Putzier was an outstanding player when he was younger and is a big baseball fan, evidenced by the fact that he showed up at Minute Maid with a Roy Hobbs (The Natural) jersey on.
Sage Rosenfels tied with Kris Brown for the title with two dingers, but he sent at least half a dozen balls just to the right of the Crawford Boxes. Five feet to the left and Sage could have easily hit five to six homeruns.
The players seemed to really get a kick out of being there. Before BP, a few players headed into the Astros locker room for a quick tour. Astros rookie centerfielder Hunter Pence was already there and he, Putzier and Mark Bruener chatted for at least 10 minutes.
Pence told the Texans tight ends of life in the minors, days when he would bring his own Subway sandwich to the ball park for dinner or just munch on some energy bars before a game.
Pence later took some swings and was pretty impressive, knocking six out of the yard with just 10 outs. He was a really down-to-earth guy and seems is just happy to finally be in the big leagues.
He had no idea that many people had been pulling for him for so long around Houston to be called up and he said he was surprised by his reception this past weekend. He's got a few more fans after yesterday.
Ken Griffey Jr. was also out early to watch. DeMeco Ryans seemed to be thrilled to be around the legend. As many Texans know, DeMeco was a big baseball guy growing up, playing catcher all through high school before focusing solely on football at Alabama.
Griffey spent a good hour talking to the Texans and seemed to genuinely enjoy himself. Though I don't think he picked up any tips, Griffey did hit a bomb against the Astros in the first inning last night so maybe he was a little inspired.
Things will quiet down a bit around Reliant Stadium now. Players will continue their offseason workouts, but the next big event will be the team's first set of OTA's (Optional Team Activity) that begin on May 16.