Tag Archives: spring break

The Astros’ Good Luck Charm

It’s been a long time since the Astros have been successful.

It’s been a long time since the Astros have been successful.

When I was a kid growing up on the north side of Chicago, I was a huge Cubs fan. My kid brother and I loved watching our beloved Cubbies play on WGN-TV and, occasionally, in person (my mom actually would take the four of us kids on the train to Wrigley Field on Ladies’ Days).

Back then one of my fondest dreams was to see a Cubs spring training game. I could just imagine traveling to Mesa, Arizona, to watch Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, and the rest of my blue-clad heroes. Maybe I’d even be able to work up the courage to score an autograph or two!

The starting lineups

The starting lineups

Fast forward to a week ago Sunday. My spring training game dream finally came true! However, this time it was in the Grapefruit League instead of its Cactus counterpart, as our family watched our Houston Astros play the Toronto Blue Jays at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, which is near Orlando.

When we were making plans for Jake’s last spring break, I pitched the idea of going to Universal Studios Orlando for a couple days. Then I threw in what I knew would be a home run: Watching our first spring training game. All four of us love baseball, so all of us were excited.

Too close for comfort?

Too close for comfort?

At the Mister’s suggestion, I bought a fresh baseball in case the guys wanted to get autographs. What a great idea! Our seats were one row from the field next to the Astros’ dugout, which gave us a great, albeit potentially scary view.

The pen confuses Jonathan Singleton.

The pen confuses Jonathan Singleton.

All of the players walked past us, with some of them stopping to sign. At first, C.J., who had the ball and the pen, seemed a little shy. But with prodding from his mom who didn’t want him to have any regrets, he stood up and handed the tricky SHSU pen and ball to Jon Singleton, our hopefully great first base prospect.

C.J. holds the ball with his first autograph.

C.J. holds the ball with his first autograph.

After that, it was easier for him to ask. Plus our hometown heroes seemed glad that we cared.

Carlos Corporan, our catcher, gives the ball back.

Carlos Corporan, our catcher, gives the ball and pen back.

Up until that point, C.J. had told me he was sick of me snapping photos of him. But, suddenly, having his own personal photographer (I was wielding my small but mighty Nikon V1) was advantageous.

Thank you, Jarred Cosart!

Thank you, Jarred Cosart!

What a great memory for my boys! I must admit I felt a pang of jealousy wishing that had been me back in the 1960s.

Rudy Owens, who was the starting pitcher, will start the season in the minors.

Rudy Owens, who was the starting pitcher, will begin the season in the minors.

When the game finally started, we couldn’t help but notice that even though this was the Astros’ home park, we were surrounded by Blue Jays fans. We had seen cars in the parking lot with Ontario license plates, so it looks like Canadians also like to travel to Florida to watch baseball. They cheered loud and long for their favorite team.

The Astros’ mascot Orbit was large and in charge.

The Astros’ mascot Orbit was large and in charge.

Some aspects of the game reminded us of the Sugar Land Skeeters, our town’s Atlantic League team. There were condiment and tricycle races, as well as Orbit the mascot mixing things up with the fans. You can’t beat fun at the ballpark, spring or summer!

One thing that was odd, though, was what happened during the game. After watching the Blue Jays plate two runs, the four of us visited the team shop. When we got back to our seats, we were surprised to see the score was 2-2. At no time did we hear the crowd yelling about a two-run Astros’ homer. Weird.

After the Jays went up 3-2, we made our usual early exit in the bottom of the eighth to beat the traffic and head to Orlando and the Hard Rock Hotel. So imagine how shocked we were when we found out that the good guys actually won 4-3! We spent all that time at the game without seeing the Astros score a run. Talk about your reverse good luck charms!

Our family selfie

Our family selfie (the sun was so bright!)

Don’t be surprised if the Astros pay us to stay away from the games this season!

One-Word Wednesday

My older son smiles before driving back to UTSA last Sunday as spring break ends.

My older son smiles before driving back to UTSA last Sunday as spring break ends.


What Do I Miss Most?

Today’s weather in Chicago . . . brrrrr!

Today’s weather in Chicago . . . ugh!

I’m in the Chicago area until Sunday visiting my beloved mother. As a bonus, it’s her younger sister’s BIG birthday tomorrow, and my cousins are having a party for her. I’m thrilled that I get to help my wonderful Aunt Sandy celebrate!

That being said . . . goodness sakes, it’s flippin’ cold here in mid-March! I haven’t lived in these parts in almost 30 years, and I forgot how much I hate when the temps fall so low amid Chicago’s notorious bracing breeze. But not for long.

Those freezing feelings came rushing back to me as soon as I stepped outside at O’Hare Airport last Wednesday afternoon. The 20-mph north wind hit me square in the face, making the 28-degree temperature feel downright frosty. Brrrrrr!

This is what I left behind.

This is what I left behind . . . love!

Meanwhile, this is what I left behind in Houston. What a lovely spring break week it’s been . . . there. Lows in the 50s, highs in the 70s and low 80s. Ahhhhh!

Of course, I also left behind my sons and the Mister, trading one family for another. I miss my trio a lot . . . as well as those mild Houston temperatures.

When I return home and step off the plane Sunday afternoon, I’ll be greeted by a warm 81 degrees. Plus I’ll eventually get to see my guys, including my older son before he returns to UTSA to finish his spring semester.

Win win!!

My World This Week

My older son takes a break from reading “Catching Fire” on my Kindle to smile at me.

All is right in my world.

Back to the e-book!

My older son is home this week from UTSA for spring break.

Even my younger son is cooperating! A red-letter day!

Little brother is happy that his big bro is home, too!