I’ll be completely honest; “Coming at you live from the Milo Hamilton Press Box” isn’t a sentence I ever thought I would utter in my entire life. Not many people get to step foot in here at game time. I feel humbled to be on this ride with Apollo Media. I thought I’d document my first time as an official member of the media in blog form in a “Live Tweeting” format. This may come off as more incoherent rambling, but it’s an accurate look into my inner monologue while watching the ball game.
Media members gets pretty good treatment around here. Free parking. Enhanced dining options with a pretty good spread for $12. Comfy chair with plenty of arm room. Private latrine. A nice quiet place to work in a COVID partition. Entry into the park before the general public. I’ve been in the empty ballpark a time or two taking tours being courted to purchase season tickets, but never on the eve of a game with a little bit of electricity in the air.
Joshstros is here taking 1,000 pictures, literally. Bregman’s hitting coach from the PHW Productions documentary is here. I had to shake the man’s hand for his contributions to the world. Oddly enough, at 6:27pm as I write this the Astros haven’t had time out on the field to loosen up. A few of the guys (Bregman, of course) took some BP but other than that they haven’t touched the grass. What are they doing down there? I never know what they’re doing down there.
The Rockets’ Jalen Green, the 2nd overall pick in the NBA draft, is set to toss the ceremonial first pitch this evening. The drip game is VERY strong. He threw a strike right down the dick to Orbit.
There will be a pre-game ceremony where Alex Bregman receives the Roberto Clemente award. The haters are absolutely furious because it’s “bestowed annually to the player who best represents the game of Baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.” Bregman’s charity has raised close to $2,000,000. He just walked onto the field. His hitting coach is with him. It makes me wonder how much he works with Alex Cintron. This guy is clearly going everywhere with him.
The Shooting Stars are wearing plaid tops with Daisy Dukes and cowgirl boots. Fans, especially the ones with the oversized orange foam cowboys hats, are going absolutely bonkers for free oversized t-shirts right now.
A fella I spoke to in the press box at the Skeeter’s game who was the official scorer is here scoring the game. I guess the Astros hired him. When we were at the Skeeters game he mentioned he had scored 18 Astros game this season and 17 of them were wins. This dude is a lucky rabbit’s foot for this team — not that the Astros need any help walloping the Diamondbacks who are 47.5 games back in the NL West.
The Astros are settling in for their 147th game of the seas-
Ope, time for the national anthem. Not a bad rendition – the girl belted the whole thing.
Like I was saying, the Stros have 16 games left and the schedule is a mixed bag concerning the remaining competition. We’ve got 3 against the worst team in baseball, the Diamondbacks. 4 against the bum-ass Angels. 3 against Oakland who is currently 7 games back in the AL West. 3 against AL’s best – the Rays. And 3 more againt Oakland for good measure. The last 3 series of the season could potentially make or break the Astros. Gotta keep the foot on the gas and get a winning streak going against Arizona and LAA.
Stros take the field. Brandon Bielak on the bump. I like this kid. He’s had some rough outings but has performed well out of the bullpen lately. As a matter of fact, his first MLB start was against the Diamondbacks in August of 2020. He threw 5 scoreless innings. He’s currently on a 10-inning scoreless streak in his last 5 appearances. Let’s see if he brought the mustard. He’s touching 95-96 on the fastball. (Edit: stats from post game below)
Well, there goes that no-hitter. Bielak surrenders a hit to the Josh Rojas after a 7 pitch at bat, who then stole 2nd base as Varsho struck out. Scorer over the loud speaker in the room calls the ruled Stolen Base. What a trip! I still can’t believe I’m sitting here. Brandon walked Peralta.
Foul ball just bounced off of a lady’s hands the row in front of the box. Bielak walks Kole Calhoun, the Astro killer. This comes a surprise to absolutely nobody. Carson Kelly shits the bed and pops out with the bases loaded. Prior to his at bat there was a quick mound visit to calm Bielak down a bit.
Tuve steps into the box to face Madison Bumgarner who has been pretty mediocre all season. Jose hacks at the first pitch as he does a majority of the time. After fouling off a few he strikes out swinging. Bregman grounds out to first. Yuli flies out to center – the crowd thought it might be a goner but it didn’t reach the warning track. First inning over.
Bielak settled in after that long first inning, got through 3 hitters fairly quickly to start the 2nd. The Astros best hitter, Kyle Tucker flies out to center. Again, the crowd thought it was leaving the yard. I’m only mentioning this because from my seat I can’t see where the pop flies are headed until the fielder starts a route. Carlos hits a dribbler to first and MadBum wins the race to the bag.
Marwin! I almost forgot he’s back. Another warning track ball that looked good coming off of the bat. Inning over.
Bielak quickly in trouble with a 1st and 3rd with no outs situation. Let’s see what he’s made of. 2 strikeouts in a row. Blake Taylor is warming in the pen. Dusty is letting Brandon grind this one out, but Brent Strom is coming out for a quick mound visit. Uh oh…might be some trouble with Bielak. Strom signaled to the dugout who then signaled to the bullpen to call out Blake Taylor. Taylor fires off one pitch and gets the pop fly to end the inning.
It’s Rake Meyers time. It’s still wild to me to see Meyers in the box and Jose Siri on deck.
Scorer reads Bielak’s line over the loud speaker.
Astros fail to put up anything meaningful in the 3rd. The team who puts more runs on the board will win this game, and so far it’s nil-nil. Taylor gives up a double but also picks up some strikeouts.
Astros are hit-less. Back to the top of the order and Altuve digs in. I bet he would swing at the first pitch. He did not, it was an awful pitch and he took it. Smacked one to third and it bounced off of Rojas’s glove and Tuve gets on base on an error. Still hit-less. Not much help from Bregman as he hits into a 5-4-3 double play, and Gurriel pops one near the right field foul pole that Varsho went up to get.
Brooks Raley ALERT! Javier already warming in the pen. Grand opening, grand closing for Raley. He faces the minimum. Gives up a single and gets two groundouts. With Bielak going less than 3 innings in a spot start you have to lean on the pen quite a bit – Raley was gonna have to come out and eat at some point. I’m looking for Javier to go 2 innings at least here, even though he’s starting with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd. He fans Christian Walker to end the inning.
Tucker strikes out to start the 6th. Carlos Correa hunts for the Stros first hit of the night, but he taps one back to Bumgarner for an easy play at first. Marwin with a groundout. MadBum putting together a no-no on my first night in the press box? Rude.
Javier gets a high fly ball to right – Tucker snags. Javier gives up a stinger to right – Tucker snags. Javier gets a fly ball to shallow center, Altuve basket catch over his right shoulder. 3 up, 3 down.
I have a good feeling about the 7th inning. Meyers leads off and strokes a slow line drive to Ahmed for the first out. Siri is taking BIG daddy hacks, as he does, if you will. He draws a walk. MadBum has tried to pick him off 3 times, like the coward he is. Castro hits a tapper to 2nd and allows Siri to advance. Altuve could come up big here. And he DOES IT!
Altuve gives the Astros the lead – Bregman grounds out to end the inning. MadBum’s no-hitter bid – over.
Phil Maton’s out here. Bregman bare hands a bunt and tosses it to Yuli – ump calls safe. Dusty says he ain’t so sure, he wants them to take a peek at it. And the folks in New York have, for once, gotten something right. DBacks ain’t got nothing this inning. Back to the Stros.
Yuli pops out to first. Tucker stings a grounder to first, nice stop by Christian Walker. Carlos got the crowd excited over another pop fly. Nada for the Stros in the 7th.
Kendall Graveman has the 8th. This dude came over from Seattle throwing gas, but lately hasn’t been as sharp as his first several outings as of late. Nevertheless, Taylor Pate and Josh teamed up to create one of the most aesthetically pleasing shirts Apollo has put out to date when he came around. Check it out below. Walker singles, and Kole Calhoun walks to get on base for the 100th time tonight. Calhoun is the #2 Astros killer behind only Sir Albert Pujols. Carlos Correa turns a nice double play but the runner advances to 3rd. VanMeter knocks one up the middle past a sliding Altuve and it’s a brand new ballgame, all knotted up. After allowing 2 steals earlier in the game, Castro guns down the 3rd base stealer of the night. DBacks review it, but New York gave the Astros another one. He was clearly safe in the replay review. New York wants to make damn sure the Astros are in the post-season so they can have a villain. You love to see it.
Marwin grabs the bench so Alvarez can pinch hit. He grounds out to second – I thought he could have beat out the throw if he booked it out of the box, but some of these dudes don’t hustle, even though hustle is free. Meyers with a loud out to right field. Siri slaps a single up the middle but gets caught stealing like Jane’s Addiction. Ben DuBose makes a great point – he’s also sitting right in front of me.
Pressly is out there dealing as he always does. Jams a little Johnny Cash to get loose and sits down the side. Slider is looking magnificent from where I’m sitting. I’m never too worried about Ryan Pressly. I still think about his streak in 2019 of 40+ scoreless innings in a row. What a run!
We’ve made it to the bottom of the 9th. Astros have an opportunity to walk it off in front of the juice box. Due up – Castro, Altuve, Alexander Bregman. Castros hits a ground rule double near the right field foul pole. I’m glad it didnt clank off of there, that sound still haunts my nightmares from game 7 of the 2019 WS. Altuve! Has drawn the walk! Bregman at the plate. Gurriel waits in the wings. Bregman skies one on a 3-1 pitch, caught in center. La Pina’s pops out. Stros down to their last out, and the guy you want at the plate is at the plate. Tucker is the hottest hitter on this team. Can he do it? Foul ball. Swinging strike. Swinging strike. No he cannot. We go to the 10th.
Stanek has the 10th and comes out to Beastie Boys’ Sabotage. Lots of fans had for the exits? What gives? It’s Friday. Hold on now, Stanek is introduced over the loud speaker and Still DRE comes on. Certified banger, listening to it on the way home. Dogshit extra innings rules in effect. Long out in center moves the runner to 3rd but the crowd cheers anyway. Peralta singles in the runner and the DBacks are up 3-2. Stanek strikes out the final hitter. I will always and forever hate these extra innings rules. Almost every baseball fan shares my sentiments. Right now the Astros are 7-7 in extra inning games so I guess the runner on 2nd rule benefits them about half of the time. Landan brings up an excellent point.
Due up for the Stros in the 10th with on 2nd – Carlos, Yordan, Jake Meyers. Carlos hits a long pop fly to move Maldonado to third. Yordan is intentionally walked by cowardly manager Toery Lovullo. Meyers makes him pay for walking Alvarez and knocks a looper over the 2nd baseman’s head to bring Machete across the plate. Tie ballgame!
Diaz comes to the dish and draws a walk on a 3-1 pitch that I thought for sure he would take a hack at. His plate discipline has been fantastic since he returned from the IL. Bases juiced up with one out for Chazzy Fizz. A sac fly wins the ballgame, but a grand slam would be a lot cooler… But instead, Tyler Clippard throws one up and in and it bounced off of Chaz’s shoulder! HBP to bring the winning run across the plate. What a night! The last HBP for a win was Richard Hidalgo on August 8th, 1998. What a great night! Apollo is making dreams come true for me – and we’re just getting started. As Dez would say, PLAY THAT SONG BABY! STROS WIN!
About the Author:
Collin is a Houston lifer with a passion for all things H-Town. An undefeated Astros little league team sparked a life-long fandom of the Houston Astros. Watching the Rockets win back-to-back championships as a child became a fabric of his being. The Texans exist. Collin enjoys creating quirky video and image content for Apollo Media and co-hosts the Apollo Hour sometimes-live podcast where he and Dez (and guests) keep the city updated on the latest Houston sports news — with some personal flair baked in for sweetness.