Place residence

There’s no place like home for Astros

Everything seemed natural to Justin Verlander.

Back in Houston. Revel in the perfect mid-April weather as you approach Minute Maid Park. Smiling with the condom on his way to the downtown stadium, just because he was on his way home to the Astros again.

“I look forward to the crowd so much. People are cheering for me, not just me, but everybody,” Verlander said, before the Astros finally played their delayed 2022 home opener on Monday night against the Los Angeles Angels.

Boos and more boos greeted Dusty Baker’s final team last week inside Angel Stadium, where the Astros officially started their new campaign by taking three of four games from Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout and Co.

Then it’s two more road games against Arizona. Then back north to Seattle, with three more road contests against the Mariners.

In an obvious tribute to the Astros’ unorthodox 11-day road trip – which started a season that was delayed by a bitter lockdown – the roof of Minute Maid Park was unable to open on Monday due to a problem mechanical.

“I can’t remember the last time we had an opening day nine games in the season. I think it could be a first,” Baker said. “And I think this is our third day of operation of the year.”

The American League pennant rings were waiting at the house.

Another oversized orange banner, this one with “21” outlined in white, was ready to be unveiled on the left field light pole.

Houston, more than ever, is home to these Astros.

Houston is the only city on the Major League Baseball map where the Astros aren’t just safe. They are treasured, honored, hailed, loved and acclaimed.

Very strong.

“Alute! Altuve! shouted a fan as the second baseman who was recently booed and booed in Anaheim, Calif., finished batting practice.

“Bregman! shouted another fan.

The third baseman looked toward the initial rows above the Astros dugout, waved at his close admirers, and raised his hand as items requiring signatures were pushed toward him.

Owner Jim Crane was the only Astro who didn’t seem to fully appreciate BP.

Baker dressed the role for that home opener, wearing an orange and blue shirt, cowboy boots and a belt buckle during his pregame interview.

Nearly five hours before the first pitch, a future Hall of Famer who has already seen it all between the lines sounded 20 years younger as the Astros’ 10th game of a 162-game season approached.

It was time for The Show in Houston.

It was time for ringing noise, stadium-wide buzz, and another celebration honoring the greatest era in Astros history.

“The people here are great,” said Verlander, who is approaching his fifth anniversary as an Astro. “I have known many regions of the country. I think the people are what makes this city so great. Just the kindness that most people have.

The Astros’ 5-4 start was encouraging, frustrating, exciting and frustrating again.

Verlander pitched eight brilliant comeback innings on Saturday in a 4-0 shutout against the Mariners. This was followed by a 7-2 defeat. And while rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña’s .345 batting average clearly impressed, Jose Altuve returned home with just .156, Yuli Gurriel was batting .167 and Kyle Tucker had four hits in 33 at bats.

“First of all, Justin Verlander looks awesome. It’s a great sight to see,” Astros General Manager James Click said. “We had some really great performances from Peña, from (Jose ) Siri, from (Chas) McCormick – from a lot of parts of the roster. And so once everyone starts firing on all cylinders, I think we’re exactly where we hoped and expected to be.

Michael Brantley and Lance McCullers Jr. were honored.

The announcement of Yordan Alvarez’s name woke up the stadium.

Baker was featured twice and surrounded by fireworks the second time.

Verlander, 39, walked from the dugout from first base to the infield with a huge smile on his face.

Then “21” was attached to “05”, “17” and “19” on what was described as the “championship round”, and the Astros were back in their place.

Their stadium.

their supporters.

Orange, blue and row upon row of local pride.

Houston, the real home of the Astros.

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