In an effort to explain to fans throughout Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana what an Asher Wojciechowski is, the team sent caravans of players and staff on a 31-city, seven-day road trip this month. With three straight 100-loss seasons under their belts and still no TV deal, just the act of players standing in front of would-be fans and saying, "Hi, I'm Carlos Corporan and I'm a Houston Astros catcher," is significant.
Looking over the list of cities, they clearly have their bases covered...so to speak. From south Texas to Oklahoma into Louisiana and out into the Hill Country, fans are getting to find out that there is a baseball team in Houston called the Astros.
But, I got to thinking that maybe they skipped a few possibilities for locations that could land them even more fans. Maybe not this year, but perhaps they can save them for next year's caravan. If they still have no TV deal and lose 100 games again, however, they might need whatever van or bus they used as a getaway vehicle to run from the flaming torches or the crushing apathy.
Ok, well, just to the north of there anyway. I mean, why go to an army reserve base or Sam Houston State University when you can hit up a prison? There is a group of captive fans that are just dying for something to do 182 days out of the year. Sure, they can't make it to games and they probably don't get Comcast, but they can read papers and maybe catch a game on the radio. Plus, if a particular umpire costs them a game or two, they will have resources for taking care of him once the season is over.
Suggested Activity: Orbit delivers the last meal to a death row inmate.
With so many minor league players having just been called up to the major leagues on the anticipated training camp roster, why not visit an old stomping ground for many of them? The AA affiliate Corpus Christi Hooks (aka Houston Astros 2016 roster) will give guys a glimpse of who will be replacing them in a couple seasons.
Suggested Activity: Batting practice at Whataburger Field. Never too early to start.
Rural East Texas
Nothing says "exciting" like a trip through a handful of some of east Texas's most infamous meth labs. Amateur chemists and guys with no teeth like baseball too. Plus, in these places carrying bats isn't just allowed, it's encouraged.
Suggested Activity: Have Matt Albers and Jim Crane re-enact a scene from Breaking Bad. Albers could make a good Pinkman. Harlingen
With all the players the Astros have cultivated in baseball academies across Latin America, a trip to South Texas is obviously in order. They'll need to beef up security to ensure no one is kidnapped by members of the drug cartel, but it's a small price to pay for one-on-one time with true fans.
Suggested Activity: Players participate in cavity searches with suspected drug runners at border check points.
Deep in the piney woods of east Texas, they love all things American, and what's more American than baseball? Of course, you might need to restrict access on this trip to some of the more, let's say, fairer skinned players and Bo Porter might want to sit this one out as well. But, hey, a fan's a fan even if they wear a white hood!
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Suggested Activity: Let preacher perform laying of the hands ceremony on select Astros players. It couldn't make batting averages worse.
Sure, it's a hella long way to travel, but no locale is too far for the Astros caravan. In this bohemian community, there's a good chance they can solicit some financial support. My guess is most of the residents will make more per year than many of the Astro players. Bonus: Fake Marfa Prada store!
Suggested Activity: Knit your own uniform day with hippies that live in the desert. Hey, that dude with the beat up camping trailer has a satellite dish and might have the MLB package.