Houston Astros Tickets
The Houston Astros ended 2015 with their first winning season since 2008 and first playoff appearance since 2005. This year, they will be looking to build on last season’s successes and stay the course for 2016. Enhancements in power, speed and pitching will pave the way to a better finish in the AL West. Houston’s pitching rotation remains a strength with lefty Dallas Keuchel who surprised baseball with his Cy Young-winning effort last season. 22 year old sophomore Lance McCullers and his steady 95 mph fastball could combine with Keuchel to create one of the strongest one-two tandems in baseball. Possibly the largest off season addition for the Astros was to the bullpen adding righty Ken Giles who was came over from the Philadelphia Phillies for Mark Appel and Vince Velasquez in a five-for-two deal. Giles’ 100 mph fastball will certainly add the speed that their bullpen lacked in last year’s American League Division Series. The Astros middle infield is impenetrable with Carlos Correa at shortstop and second baseman Jose Altuve. At third, Luis Valbuena ended 2015 with 25 home runs and will be a free agent after this year- looking to impress. Now that Chris Carter is no longer with the Astros, Jon Singleton should be in at first base and will need to translate his impressive AAA play to the majors. Houston boasts one of the best outfields around with Colby Rasmus, Carlos Gomez and George Springer, when they are all healthy. Fortunately, the Astros also contain solid depth should the injury bug hit the field again in 2015.
This ball club will need a repeat of 2015 from most of its members this year in order to gain ground in the tough AL West. With an improved bullpen and a healthy roster, the 2016 Astros should be in the mix for at least a Wild card berth. Astros fans are extremely loyal and should make sure to secure their Houston Astros tickets for an exciting ride this summer.
Minute Maid Park
Home to the Houston Astros Major League baseball team since it opened it 2000. The Stadium has been also fondly nicknamed The Ballpark at Union Station, Enron Field, and Astros Field for a time after a naming rights night-mare with Enron and no naming rights agreement in place until June of 2002. That’s the year it was announced that the Astros sold naming rights to locally-based Coca-Cola subsidiary Minute Maid for $100 million over thirty years. Its official name was then changed to “Minute Maid Park”.
With-in the first year of opening the park won three highly sought after awards. In 2000 they won the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance Good Brick Award in recognition of leadership and excellence in historic preservation. The Most Outstanding Civil Engineering Project, and the National Honor Award for Engineering Excellence, stamping Minute Maid Park as one of the Top 24 engineering projects among all buildings and civil works projects nationally.
Seating capacity overall is 40,963 in the visually stunning stadium with a retractable roof. The Stadium also has redirected sightline seating and baseball-sightlines, so the nearest spectator on the first and third base lines can be as close as 43 feet to the game.
Primarily a baseball venue Minute Maid Park has hosted the 2006 edition of the CONCACASF Championship Cup. Minute Maid Park hosted the first ever World Series played in Texas, and the longest World Series game ever played, which the Astros lost to the eventual World Series Champion Chicago White Sox 7-5 in 14 innings; this game lasted 5 hours and 41 minutes.
Houston Astros History
The Houston Astros were added to the MLB back in 1962. They were part of the westward expansion of the league. In previous decades professional baseball did not go farther west than St. Louis. A few teams relocated, but many more were added as expansion teams. This includes the Astros.
As an expansion team in a time before free agency, the club was bound to struggle. They competed to finish in any place but last for the first seven years in the NL and more often than not they failed. The team changed its momentum in the 1970s. Suddenly players like Cesar Cedeno, Lee May, and Jimmy Wynn made the team a power hitting club. Eventually the front office made some adjustments and the club became a pitching powerhouse. Joe Niekro developed a knuckleball and Nolan Ryan had an unhittable fast ball.
Still, the Houston Astros did not become a contender until the early 1980s. Joe Morgan returned to play second base and the starting rotation added J.R. Richard. The club went to the playoffs three times in seven seasons, but never advanced beyond the first round.
The Astros’ most dominant era began a decade later after the addition of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. With these two as centerpieces, the baseball team played in the postseason six times from the 1995 to 2005. This included one trip to the World Series, which they lost in four straight to the Chicago White Sox. The team is busy rebuilding through the farm system, hoping to build a roster to take advantage of the hitter-friendly measurements of Minute Maid Park.
They will be doing so as the newest team to play in the American League. The team was moved in an effort to make sure each division had five teams. Previously, the Astros were one of six teams in the NL Central. The move to the AL West (which had previously only had four teams) sets up a new rivalry, one with the Texas Rangers from the Dallas area.