This was it…the final stop on a long, crazy, but never-a-dull-moment adventure!
I had arranged for my brother-in-law, Matthew, to meet me in Houston, so as I flew from Indiana (where I was attending a conference) and he flew from California, we both had our eye on “the prize,” as Houston’s Minute Maid Park (http://tinyurl.com/338wxk) would spell the end of my quest to visit every baseball park in the league.
I had reached out to the team’s PR guy, Chris (as had my dear friend Sheena Stephens (http://bit.ly/ZGa6bQ) who worked the phones that day to arrange other interviews) so, he wanted to know if I could get to the park early to speak to a MLB blogger. We ate some yummy Mexican food (yeah, I know, I’m a beaner, but I was in Texas and they just have better Mexican food than we do in DC), chilled a bit and headed to the park. Once in our seats, I connected with Chris who came over with some serious swag bags for Matthew and me before I started the interview with Rachel, the blogger. She was a breath of fresh air…young and very engaged with my many baseball park stories! Shortly after, Bart, the on-air sports talent for Fox Sports Houston appeared and said he would be back later for a live interview as they selected me the “Fan of the Game.” I quickly checked my make-up and donned my Colt 45 jersey that Chris had gifted me, and waited for Bart to return (during the wait, we ordered a round of drinks…liquid courage from the not-so-cheap seats, if you will).
Bart returned and we did our segment. When it was done, he got a message in his ear whig and said, “Now? You want me to ask her to come now?” With that he asked us to go with him to the TV truck to meet “Wave,” the producer. In seconds we were in the bowels of the park, traipsing past the post-game interview room (we both took turns behind the podium), then to where the players parked (we oogled the cars), and where the players’ wives parked their children (we marveled at the nice perk). We finally made it to the TV “truck” (it was really a trailer) and stepped in. Bart announced, “Guys, it’s Linda Beltran” and the guys, all glued to their monitors, clapped and gave us a great welcome! I was humbled and slightly embarrassed (okay, just slightly :-)!
Wave invited me to sit next to him, and then put on a pair of headphones on me and as I listened to the “call” of the game from the producer’s post. I was watching — up close — how they pieced the game together…from the tons of cameras, the instant replays, and the commercials – it was right there, for my eyes to behold and my ears to follow! I could have stayed there the rest of the game, but Bart had to walk us back and Matthew wasn’t able to sit, so that wasn’t fun for him. As Bart led us back to the concourse, he pointed out things and people, former players that Matthew knew (before I started following the game), so I was excited just by the fact that he knew who these people were, and why they were worth knowing. We said goodbye to Bart and walked back into the outer sanctum…and we smiled, and marveled over what had just happened upon us! The game was winding down and the Astros were losing big to the Phillies by a score of 6-12, but we walked about, made a stop at the store to get my Pass-Port stamped, and shared a hot dog…I couldn’t visit my last park and not have A HOT DOG!
It was a magical night – one I will remember forever. I was grateful that Matthew was with me to be witness to it all and enjoy it as much as I did! I have to admit, with all the activity, I didn’t get to appreciate this park like I had the others, but the visit will be unforgettable! Here are the links to the two articles posted about my visit!
A few of my favorite pictures from the day and some more at this link! An amazing “end of the road.” http://tinyurl.com/b2jqmzy