I admit that I have only seen two Houston Astros baseball games at Minute Maid Park this year. It's not as if their losing and heartbreaking ways are keeping me away though. It's always been an evening option for me, but I rarely take the 'Stros up on the offer of a night of Kiss Cams and stale nachos.
Most of us long-term Houstonians grew up watching them suck, so this year is yes, very bad, but nothing we haven't at least had training for.
Now in the waning days of the season, the Astros are struggling to get asses of all colors, shapes, and ages into the seats. What happens if not enough people show up on giveaway nights? Do the local shelters get boxes of bobbleheads for the kids?
Earlier in the year, the franchise started allowing people to bring their own food and water to the game, and the food and beer choices got a little more fun and varied, but the team's losing ways tarnished the fun of it all.
Besides, there was nowhere to plug in my Crock-Pot.
9. We're Bringing Back Orbit
What a jackrabbit has to do with a team called the Astros we'll never know. When the team moved to their new digs in 2000 and left behind the Astrodome, they also left behind Orbit, a loveable oafish extraterrestrial who helps cheer on the team to the delight of children in the Houston area.
Of course there are people who miss Chester Charge too.
For one weekend series, Orbit comes back to the delight of twentysomethings and older, but this time she comes with a new transgendered storyline. In between innings, Orbit will tell us about her realization through pantomime that she is actually a female, of whatever species she is. By Sunday's game, Ms. Orbit will debut her new look. Who knew that Orbit was a dude the whole time in the '90s? Fun, educational fun for the whole family.
Orbit becomes the first transgendered mascot in the history of the game. You don't need to have a contest for a new mascot, Astros, just use what you already have.
8. Free Babysitting
Drop the kids of at the front of the stadium, and for a fee they will be able to roam the stadium at will. Wait, this happens already. Did we mention they will implanted with tracking chips? Yeah, so it's better somehow now.
7. Free Hot Dogs
Because who doesn't like free fake meat while watching a sorta-fake baseball team.
6. Food Trucks In The Stadium
I know, I know, it's hip and trendy to have food trucks at every soiree these days, from funerals to weddings to alt-weekly web awards functions. But why not have some of Houston's best restaurants on wheels drive into the stadium? You got a problem, Aramark?
5. Free Checkups And Cancer Screenings
The franchise brings in doctors and specialists from the medical center to see patients during the games, killing two important birds with one gloved stone. Get that mole checked out while the Astros take another one to the groin. Speaking of groins, free prostate exams for dad every Friday night during the fireworks display.
4. Fans In The Outfield
If you have one of three winning tickets, you could be suiting up to shag some dingers in the seventh inning. Three lucky fans get to don Astros garb to help out the team by filling the left, center, and right field slots in the bottom of the seventh inning. The organization is not liable for any brain damage from pop-ups smashing into your skull, or plastic surgery needed to put your face back in order after a line drive turns it into hamburger.
3. Nickelback & Creed Demolition Night
Remember the Chicago White Sox's Disco Demolition Night back in 1979? Well, new owner Jim Crane is doing us one better with Nickelback and Creed Demolition Night. Houstonians who bring in a compact disc from each band get in free, and during the seventh inning stretch -- during "Deep in the Heart of Texas" -- a dumpster full of the discs will be exploded on the train tracks in the stadium. Nothing will go wrong and no one will get hurt.
2. Gourmet Picnics On Tal's Hill
Fine dining with the pros comes to Minute Maid Park as wealthy fans have the chance to buy field passes for a eight-course meal on MMP's Tal's Hill. They better hurry before Mr. Crane turns it into a pool or something.
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1. Dubstep Dance Party
Because that's what the kids want, and kids are stupid.