Flying High With the Houston Astros
Since 1962, the Houston Astros have been exciting fans and shaking up the world of baseball. To their credit they have one World Series appearance, seven Division championships, and one National League championship. They have retired nine numbers aside from the number 42, Jackie Robinson who was retired throughout the league. Among the greats to have played for the Astros are names such as Jeff Bagwell, Jimmy Wynn, and Nolan Ryan.
Originally known as the Colt .45s, the team began play in Colt Stadium, where they played from 1962 to 1964, while they waited for their permanent home to be built. In 1965, the team moved into their new home, the Astrodome, so named because of Houston being home to the space program. The team was renamed the Houston Astros that year to match the stadium and continue to use that name today.
The Astrodome was the first domed multipurpose stadium. Panes of glass in the roof allowed light in to keep the specially bred indoor grass alive. However, players complained of a glare from those windows and they were soon painted over, getting rid of the glare and killing the grass. This of course led to another revolutionary discovery: Astroturf. In recent years, the Astrodome is most notable for its housing of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated parts of Louisiana and Texas. The team used the Astrodome until 2000, when they moved into Minute Maid Park, then known as Enron Field.
Off the field, the Houston Astros are active in community initiatives to enrich the lives of the area’s youth. Through the use of baseball, the team teaches achievement and an active lifestyle, while other programs benefit educational goals. They also actively support the local military, environmental awareness and conservation, and other programs and charities.
Looking ahead, the Houston Astros will move in 2013, from the National League Central Division to the American League West Division, making all six divisions even at five teams each. The new owner gained a 70 million dollar discount for agreeing to move the team once he had purchased it. Although all fans are not happy about the move, the league sees this as an opportunity not to be missed and one that, given time, will have even the doubters agreeing.
The Houston Astros are a team of innovation and pride. On the field and off they are dedicated and hard working, providing entertainment and support to their fans and neighbors who need it most. Through their community contributions and their determination to win, the Astros players and their families have earned the respect and love of the Houston area and fans of the game everywhere.
In 2010 Houston Astros looked for redemption from last season’s 5th place finish with a strong finish to the last quarter of the season. They were sitting in 4th place in the NL Central, the Astros are trying to overcome some injuries to their pitching staff. RHP Brian Moehler is out with a right groin strain, RHP Felipe Paulino is out with right shoulder tendinitis and RHP Alberto Arias is out with a right rotator cuff impingement. Also on the DL is SS Tommy Manzella out with a broken left index finger.
Other improvements include the Astros offense which has turned around with the hiring of new hitting coach Jeff Bagwell. “It’s them; it has nothing to do with me. They’re doing all the work. I just happen to be here,” Bagwell said recently.
In 2009 Houston Astros got off to a great start but after 80 games are sitting one game under .500, but they aren’t concerned…yet. After the team finished 3rd place in the NL Central last season, Manager Cecil Cooper to upgrade his squad. With Lance Berkman at the top of his game, the Astros have tried to shore up their pitching staff signing a number of pitchers in June and have sent 2B Kazuo Matsui to the minors.
The Astros opened the season with a series loss to the Cubs and were then pummeled by the St. Louis Cardinals and it wasn’t till they traveled to Pittsburgh that the team finally got on track.
In July, the Astros signed Alex Martinez and RGP Phillip Rorabaugh. They also picked up German Duran off waivers.