So for the first time in a long time I am on vacation and we are spending it in the great state of Texas (I don’t know about this great thing yet) but so far we have had a warm welcoming time.
Today we did one of my favorite things to do (outside of pulling up to a movie theater) and that is go to the baseball game to catch the Houston Astros take on the Arizona Diamondbacks. Very few things in this world really excite me than heading out to the ballpark for a game.
Pulling into downtown Houston is really nice, there are what you can tell some rough areas as well as some holy crap areas where you are just mind blown with what the houses look like. Well we pulled up to Minute Maid Park and honestly parking is some of the easiest I’ve ever met while at the stadium or venue. We found some parking I would say about a block from the stadium, which of course is always really good.
Now of course any trip to the ballpark wouldn’t be a fun time without a little snag right? Of course, so mine came when i went to pick up my “will call” tickets from the box office. Well as I got one of the first of many grumpy old women at the box office, this woman was just horrendous. I gave her my I.D. as well as the credit card I purchased the tickets from, both of which the email that was sent when I bought the tickets I would need and would easily be able to pick up my tickets. Well obviously it wasn’t that easy for this woman at all. So after a good solid 20 minutes of trying she decides she can’t help me anymore and sent me over to another woman. Well this woman was pretty rude at first and after realizing that the first lady was just completely inept at her job and didn’t help me at all, she got on the same page with me and finally got our tickets.
Well for today’s game we decided to go with the Coke Cola value deal tickets, which are the worst seats you can grab and you get a free coke, hot dog and popcorn for $20. Now of course the big entrée for this trip is the Astros/Rays game so we put more money into the tickets but for today and for me, it’s just about being able to go to the ball park.
We walked in and walked around a little and I was representing my L.J. Hoes t-shirt I bought on my earlier trip to Minute Maid Park. Well I really wanted a George Springer t-shirt to add to the collection so first thing after walking in I wanted to do is go pick one up. So after walking around the store and I tell you anything that you can possible think of they really decide to put a player or the team logo on. The customer service was very good while we were in there as well, I asked if they had the Springer shirt in a large in the blue, took her less than a minute to go to the back and grab me one and I was on my way. Another thing I like that they offer is the scorecard, which for those of reading that haven’t gone to the ballpark or don’t know what that is, it’s a card that you can follow each batter and record what he did during his plate appearance. Now this can be really fun or even a lesson you can teach if you bring the kids to the ballpark and can add another element to the game. But I always pick up the games scorecard and collect them.
One big thing about enjoying the game is the food and always trying something different or making it a little fun, so that’s what we did. Well lucky for us it was $1 hot dog night and we decided we were going to attempt a “Hot Dog Eating Contest”. Well folks that didn’t last very long, as I decided I was going to overflow my dogs with Jalapeño Peppers and just literally had my mouth on fire as well as I knew I was going to regret it later that night. So I think between the 3 of us we got down 11 of the originally 12 hot dogs we brought back to our seats. But again, the Dogs are a big part of a good time at the ball park.
We had a great view of the stadium, I am not sure there really is a bad seat in the house there and we benefited with having the front row seats of our section and we had the luxury of stretching and if you have ever been to a sports stadium you know how good it is to have that.
I was really excited to see this more fresh version of this Astros team which is different from the team I saw less than a month ago. Jon Singleton who had just recently been called to join my boy George Springer in the lineup got things started with a Sac Fly to put the Astros up early 1-0 in the 1st. The D’backs tied it up in the 3rd with a Sac Fly of their own. One of my least favorite things to figure out at a baseball game is when to get up and try to either get a refill or figure out when it’s time to get more food. Well as we decided to do that at the bottom of the 3rd inning, Jon Singleton decided he was going to the 1st pitch he saw from Miley in this inning deep to right field for a homer. I just knew something like that was bound to happen because it always does no matter which game I am going to see. Chad Qualls came in the 9th for the save for the Astros and gave up a homer to Miguel Montero and he blew the save. Luckily the Astros were able to enjoy a walk off via a Chris Carter (no not the football player folks) homer.
We got to see 2 fantastic plays, one was a diving grab in center field by Dexter Folwer which was just amazing and the other was Jonathon Villar with a nice diving grab at short to get an out.
So I decided since I was going to check my time at the ballpark I will breakdown the experience by how I felt about each thing. It is on a scale of 1-10, of course 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.
Parking – 10 - Honestly have been to a few ballparks and honestly there has been plenty of times where you are looking for parking for hours (LP FIELD!!!!) but this wasn’t the case here at Minute Maid Park. Easy to find and like I said earlier, within a few blocks of the stadium.
The Food – 7 - I was surprised how easy the transition was for it being $1 hot dog night. It was available at a majority of the concession stands and it was a fluid and was very fast. Couldn’t have asked for a better transition even with knowing how busy they would be. The Hot Dogs were great! Tasted good and smothered them in Ketchup, Mustard and jalapeno. My other favorite thing to do at the ball park is to get the little helmets that they fill with ice cream. First I like to collect the little helmets and 2nd I am a huge I MEAN HUGE Ice Cream fan and being in Texas can mean only one thing, BLUE BELL Ice Cream is what is on the menu. One thing I do like that they do is they have a different “featured flavor” every night and tonight’s was Tin Roof. They filled that helmet up and I topped it with some chocolate and caramel syrup and it was perfection.
The Customer Service – 7 - The only thing that held this back from a 8-9 was the box office woman and honestly I didn’t let influence my choice much but with the little trouble I had, it was hard to let that not be apart of my final score. The people throughout the ball park are very nice, whether it was the woman who checked me out in the food line, the woman who helped me out in the Astros Store or the people who help you get to your seats. All very nice and very helpful.
The Game – 10 - The greatest thing you can ever do is take the family to the ball park. Especially down in Houston, you can take the family and just have a great time. It was great to see the young up and coming Astros players play and I think they have a bright future of them with all that young talent.
Overall Experience – 8.5 - Just one little small hiccup at the beginning of the trip really held this being a 9 or 10 but at the end of the day, great customer service otherwise, great food and another fun day at the ballpark and you can ask much more for that….
If you are ever in Houston and have a chance to catch a game, I would. The stadium is beautiful and it would be a fun time at the ballpark for everything.