The Houston Astros and their AAA farm team, the Round Rock Express, have a lot in common this year -- a nearly identical losing percentage (.462 for the 'Stros, .459 for RR), with both teams in next-to-last place (Houston is 12.5 games behind; the Express 12.)
Still, Round Rock leads the mothership in fan appreciation -- and one-on-one marketing. Their players actually make telephone calls to their fans to thank them for attending games.
Any of you Astros fans ever gotten a call from, say Runvelvys Hernandez, for shelling out your hard-earned dough to watch mostly-losing baseball?
In Austin over the weekend, Express fan Harrell Hoffman received an unexpected call from Chance Douglas, a pitcher, who "wanted to thank me for being a loyal fan."
"I told him I hoped he did well and was a star for the Astros, so I can tell people he called me once and we chatted," said Hoffman, a 55-year-old computer engineer and life-long Astros fan. "I think he liked that."
"I had a call like this a couple of years ago, but it's still a surprise, and honestly for me, a hardcore baseball fan for life, pretty cool. And I do appreciate the Express for having the players do that, and I bet a few of them hate doing it." -- Steve Olafson