Spring Updates, Anthem Recap, High School

Spring Training Updates

Entering Monday, the Houston Astros are 4-4, tied for seventh in the 15-team Grapefruit League. Remember that the Minor League side gets cranked up this week, with the first Minor League games starting Thursday, March 15 when the Astros Double-A/Triple-A working group faces that of the Washington Nationals in Kissimmee. The Astros Class-A working group will face the Nationals in Viera that day.

For information about the club from folks on the ground and in-the-know in Kissimmee, follow Alyson Footer (http://footer.mlblogs.com), Brian McTaggart (http://brianmctaggart.mlblogs.com) or Zachary Levine and Steve Campbell at the Houston Chronicle (http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/).

Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee, Florida - Spring Training home of the Houston Astros.

Here are stats from 2011 RedHawks in 2012 Major League camp with statistics in Grapefruit League games (through games of March 11):

HITTERS

  • Brandon Barnes – 7G, .167 (1×6)
  • Brian Bogusevic – 4G, .111 (1×9)
  • Carlos Corporan – 4G, .167 (1×6), 2 RBI
  • Jake Goebbert – 6G, .000 (0x4)
  • Chris Johnson – 5G, .286 (4×14), HR, 2 RBI
  • J.B. Shuck – 4G, .444 (4×9), RBI
  • Brett Wallace – 6G, .083 (1×12)

PITCHERS

  • Fernando Abad – 2G, 0-0, 0.00 (0ER/2.0IP)
  • Juan Abreu – 1G, 0-0, 9.00 (1ER/1.0IP)
  • David Carpenter – 3G, 0-0, 0.00 (0ER,3.0IP)
  • Xavier Cedeno – 2G, 0-0, 6.75 (1ER,1.1IP)
  • Paul Clemens – 1G, 0-0, 0.00 (0ER/1.0IP)
  • J.A. Happ – 2GS, 1-1, 7.71 (4ER/2.2IP)
  • Lucas Harrell – 2G, 0-0, 2.45 (1ER/3.2IP)
  • Jordan Lyles – 2G, 1GS, 0-0, 6.00 (4ER, 6.0IP)
  • Fernando Rodriguez – 2G, 0-0, 9.00 (2ER, 2.0IP)
  • Henry Sosa – 2G, 0-0, 11.25 (5ER,4.0IP)
  • Jose Valdez – 1G, 0-0, 9.00 (1ER/1.0IP)
  • Henry Villar – 2G, 0-0, 0.00 (0ER, 2.0IP)
  • Wesley Wright – 3G, 0-0, 0.00 (0ER,3.0IP)

NOTABLES

  • Brian Bixler – 7G, .200 (1×5) – Outfielder was a waiver claim by Astros from Nationals in November, but forced off the 40-man in December.
  • Jason Bourgeois – 5G, .250 (3×12) – Outfielder battled injuries with Houston throughout 2011, spending two rehabilitation assignments with OKC.
  • Justin Ruggiano – 2G, .000 (0x2) – Outfielder spent whole career with Tampa Bay Rays, and could compete for an outfield roster spot in Houston. Has been out of the lineup after suffering some tightness in his oblique. He was scheduled to be in the lineup Sunday, but the game was rained out.
  • Jordan Schafer – 5G, .333 (5×15), 1 RBI – Outfielder traded from Braves in Michael Bourn deal, started playing in Astros organization on a rehabilitation assignment with OKC in Iowa.
  • Notice that all of the above are outfielders, and we didn’t even mention J.B. Shuck, J.D. Martinez, Brian Bogusevic, Jack Cust, George Springer and Fernando Martinez. There are outfielders everywhere in camp, but a very small number of valuable outfield roster spots. Some who do not make the Houston roster will likely start with OKC.

Astros Grapefruit League schedule this week:

  • Monday, March 12 – 6:05 p.m. CT at New York Yankees
  • Tuesday, March 13 – 12:05 p.m. CT vs. Philadelphia Phillies
  • Wednesday, March 14 – 12:05 p.m. CT at St. Louis Cardinals
  • Thursday, March 15 – 12:05 p.m. CT vs. Toronto Blue Jays
  • Friday, March 16 – 5:05 p.m. CT at Atlanta Braves
  • Saturday, March 17 – 12:05 p.m. CT at New York Yankees
  • Sunday, March 18 – 12:05 p.m. CT vs. New York Mets

Anthem Auditions a Success

This past Saturday at Penn Square Mall, approximately 200 people auditioned during The Oklahoman/Oklahoma City RedHawks National Anthem Auditions, for a chance to sing at a RedHawks game this summer. As is normally the case, we heard a couple of Whitney Houston-ish performances and other Kenny G-ish instrumental versions. We also heard some Christina Aguilera-ish forgotten lyrics and some Carl Lewis-ish cracking. Some were great, some were good and others were, um…, “unique,” but I give major credit to anyone willing to get up in front of any audience and sing this song.

Anthem auditions lasted six hours, with approximately 200 auditions.

Remember, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that days later was placed to music. It was not originally intended to be a song.

It became a song only days after the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. Key, who witnessed the British attack on the fort, wrote the poem that resulted, “Defence of Fort McHenry,” and later took it to his brother-in-law, Judge Joseph H. Nicholson, who put the words to the music of “The Anacreontic Song.” When it was printed in newspapers across the country days later, it became widely popular. Here is the whole poem by Key:

“O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there; O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream: ‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion, A home and a country, should leave us no more? Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave, O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved home and the war’s desolation. Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!”

A lot of people forget that there are other parts to the original poem/song. People have had infamous trouble remembering the order of the part we all hear. For being so short, it has to be one of most difficult songs to perform.

Fact that I just made up, but you should remember for next year’s audition: anyone who sings the whole song is most likely an instant winner.

Performer's view during auditions at Penn Square Mall. Once the singing started, crowds packed the surrounding floor and the second-floor balcony to watch and listen.

The “Star Spangled Banner” was played at a baseball game for the first time in the seventh inning stretch of game one in the 1918 World Series, but the song did not become the official National Anthem until President Herbert Hoover made it happen in 1931. The tradition of performing the “Star Spangled Banner” continued on Opening Day, Independence Day and a few other holidays or days of importance in baseball, but did not truly become a daily event at baseball games until World War II.

I work in front of a hot microphone for a living, but singing is a different animal. (Unless there is happy hour beer, which there was none of at Saturday’s event.) Congrats to everyone who auditioned, and results will be individually sent to performers by April 1.

Thanks also to television stations KOKH-25 and KFOR-4 for their advance coverage and to KOKH-25 and KWTV-9 for their coverage of the event itself on Saturday.

High School Baseball Underway

The Majestic Roofing High School Baseball Series started this weekend at RedHawks Field at Bricktown, with four games over Friday and Saturday. All were played, even with the threat of rain most of Saturday.

First chalking of the third base line at RedHawks Field at Bricktown in 2012, prior to Shidler vs. Mulhall-Orlando game Friday, March 9.

Friday Results:

  • Shidler 5, Mulhall-Orlando 2 (Side note- The campus of both Shidler and Mulhall-Orlando were closed on Friday, as a third of each student body of all grades was on each team. Both teams are in Class B, the division for the smallest of small schools in the state of Oklahoma. Think of the movie Hoosiers, when everyone follows the team bus to away games. That was the case for each of these schools also, though I didn’t see anyone measuring distance between the rubber and home plate…)
  • Wister 6, Elgin 2

Saturday Results:

  • Crescent 11, Cashion 8
  • Calumet 8, Destiny Christian 4

First pitch (that was not a sales pitch) at RedHawks Field at Bricktown for the 2012 season. The hitter singled to right-centerfield.

Here is this week’s schedule of high school games:

  • Tuesday, March 13: Geary vs. Hobart – 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 15: Enid vs. Pauls Valley – 4:00 p.m.; Putnam City North vs. Yukon – 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, March 16: Anadarko vs. Clinton – 4:00 p.m.; Timberlake vs. Pioneer – 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 17: Davenport vs. Stroud – 11:00 a.m.; Tulsa Edison vs. Beggs – 2:00 p.m.; Union City vs. Moss – 5:00 p.m.

Admission to all games in the Majestic Roofing High School Baseball Series are free to the public.

Have a fantastic week…

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