Astros' excitement builds at FanFest
FanFest has become the unofficial start to baseball season in the Houston area. It's the best chance for the Astros to meet their fans in a relaxed atmosphere, where everyone is happy and ready for the upcoming season.
The Astros even managed dial up Chamber of Commerce weather for the event, which spread from one corner of Minute Maid Park to the other.
A dais of sorts was set up on the Astros dugout so fans could sit in the seats, ask questions and interact with players, broadcasters and front office personnel.
Not to mention the autograph sessions that were set up along the right field line. Astros stars from the past, present and future (last year’s No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa) were on hand to meet the fans and sign their items.
There were carnival rides were set up on the concourse along with booths from which anything Astros was available, even the 2011 Astros spring training jersey of 2010 first round pick Delino DeShields, Jr, who has yet to reach the Major Leagues.
But outside of the players, the attraction that was generating the most buzz was the bullpen session. Fans could go out into the bullpen beyond the right field wall and throw a few pitches.
“It’s fun,” said youngster Marshall Ingram after he took his turn on the mound. “It was like I was pitching in the Major Leagues.”
Marshall and his father have made a habit of coming to Fanfest. They came this year and stumbled upon the chance to throw some pitches.
“We came out and saw that you could buy bullpen sessions,” Jeff Ingram said. “This is awesome.”
There will be time for hard questions about the team and talk about how improved the team will be coming off the worst season in franchise history. But today was about making a connection between fans and the team, when everything seems right and anything is possible.
“This is a baseball town,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “You get an opportunity to get out in the community and talk to the fans see the passion in their voice, in their eyes.”
That’s what makes the CAREavan so great. That’s what makes FanFest so great,” Porter added. “That’s why we brought so many players in this week so they can see the passion and energy this city has to have a winning baseball team.”
"We love it," said Jeff Ingram. "We came last year and were definitely going to come this year and get on the field.
"We were Astros Buddies last year, (Marshall Ingram) was with his little sister. We planned to be out here with the whole family."