Blog Baseball: A series in Houston
Day 1 :
Well, the Sub Connection subs are on board, the bags are packed, the boys are ready, the 2022 baseball season is underway. After four years of bus travel, our team’s creativity has officially reached its peak. We haven’t even made it out of South Dakota and we have Guitar Hero, Fortnite and Yahtzee playing all around the bus. This part is still boring, so I’ll skip to what’s really important…
After another six hours of driving, we finally arrived at our Airbnb. We have about 35 people with us. We have two adjoining houses. There are 26 beds here. A few youngsters may or may not sleep on air mattresses the next two nights.
It didn’t take long for us to get changed and hit the road for what we really wanted to see, Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. 15 minutes later, we were greeted in the right field gate by Alexis, an Astros worker. She led us through some of the tunnels in the stadium before meeting us in the hall. We only had 50 minutes of practice because they had to run six teams in and out throughout the day.
We did most of our stretching in the hall before we hit the field and practice batting. If you’re friends with any of the baseball teams on social media I’m sure you already knew we were there but this moment is exactly what people mean when they say they feel like a child in a candy store. All the guys’ faces lit up as we walked up the steps to the field. After a short practice, we collected our things from the bus and headed back to the Airbnb.
Later that night we were treated to an Italian dinner at Pasta Prima in Houston. Evan Furst was so excited to be the only person ordering his meal, but then ordered one of the more generic Italian dishes in scampi with prawns. Jack Hines ordered the same meal directly after Evan and he got really upset because he honestly thought no one else would order it.
After our meal some of the guys had an interesting hike to the gas station (over the hills and through the woods, but if the hills were watchdogs and the woods were honking cars and people were asking me to shout them out on Instagram), and then we all went to bed in anticipation of the next day.
It’s officially the first game day of the season for the 2022 Augustana Vikings baseball team. Coach Hoops made sure the boys ate well, frying eggs, sausages and hash browns on the Cook.
We arrived on the pitch around 8.30am but were not allowed to enter the pitch until 20 minutes before the game started at 10am. So around 9:40 a herd of guys rushed onto the pitch. pitch on both sides to play catch quickly before the first pitch. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come out with a win in our first game of the season, but I’m not too worried, we’ve done that three of the four seasons I’ve been at Augustana. We lost 3-2 to Arkansas Tech, a top-25 ranked team in the nation. We certainly haven’t played our best game and we know we still have a lot of games left in our season.
After the game I was able to hang out with my parents at their hotel while a good number of guys stayed and watched the other games or went with the coaches to the Airbnb. Because we’re in Texas, I made my parents walk over a mile through downtown Houston to eat Whataburger. Yes, it’s better than that overrated destination called In-N-Out where people go because they want to take pictures and not really eat. After hanging out with my parents, I went back to Airbnb to do some homework.
Coach Huber grilled burgers for the team for dinner, and approximately 70 burgers were consumed. While one house jammed Guitar Hero for most of the night, the other house soaked up the culture by watching the live-action film Scooby-Doo and Despicable Me. We quickly discovered that Coach Huber is uneducated because he gave the quote of the weekend. “Shrek is fine”. Yeah ok big guy. After the movies and dinner, we headed to bed to get things on track on the baseball field.
After another good night’s sleep on my bunk bed, the house woke up to Coach Hoops setting off the fire alarm preparing our breakfast. After our soothing alarm, we ate and boarded the bus back to the field for game two.
This time we took the field against Arkansas-Monticello. The bats came to life for the first time in our season, we got to see balls fly out of the park and took care of business on the mound. I got to pitch for the first time in nearly two years in an Augustana uniform, so it was a pretty big day for me.
After the game, we went back to the Airbnb and waited to go out to dinner. We were able to get dinner paid for by a former baseball player from Augustana. We were treated to authentic TexMex fajitas, chips and queso and the parents were able to indulge themselves with quite a few Margaritas. by Drey Dirksen little brother, Beau, showed off his up-and-coming Youtube channel, Savage Bros, and even let me film a video for him in the restaurant. Go check it out and shoot it a like and subscribe.
After dinner, Coach Huber was clearly a bit happy after the game as we were able to stop for some ice cream and root beer floats! The night was over after two gallon tubs of vanilla ice cream were consumed. Our last game of the weekend starts at 1.30pm tomorrow, so we didn’t have to set an alarm for the first time.
Last game, regional rival, roof fully open, Hoops is in the kitchen, wrist twists like it’s a jump. We had to leave the Airbnb today before 11am before having our pre-game meal of Popeyes chicken fillets. We arrived at the stadium and got ready to leave.
Extremely fun game to end our weekend and prove to us that we have the depth we need to succeed. We had a weird rule glitch in the middle of the game and were forced to throw seven pitchers and pinch the shot three times because of it. Guys who didn’t think they would have a huge impact today were on the pitch in some of the biggest moments of the season. The boys were spoiled by the Astros and we were able to head to the visitor’s locker room to shower and change before our long bus ride home.
I’m typing this with the Super Bowl on my phone hunched over the computer screen, but the rest of the bus is watching the game on a TV in the back of the bus, or on a laptop sitting in the front aisle of the bus. I’m going to finish typing now, so if you’ve made it to the end of this stuff, thank you so much for reading, thank you for supporting Augustana baseball, and we’ll see you at the Ronk this spring. Go Augie!