Catching Up With 3 All Me Players From the Astros

posted on March 9th 2017 in All Blogs & Current Events with 0 Comments /

We woke up this morning in Port Saint Lucie on the East coast of Florida. Having repacked my bag with All Me t-shirts and tank tops for our All Me players, I grabbed a cup of coffee and loaded the car. On the way to the ballpark we stopped in a little restaurant located in West Palm Beach for breakfast to fuel up for the day. When we arrived at the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals brand new Spring Training complex, the weather was overcast with some drizzle. It didn’t take long for the sun to come out before it warmed up and became humid.

Major League Baseball was very generous this year and provided us with MLB Staff credentials which makes it easy for us to park and enter the stadium. We entered the stadium on the opposite side of the complex from the main field where the Astros were taking batting practice, pitchers were throwing bullpens and some of the players were lifting weights. We found a nice spot to put our bags down just outside of the clubhouse where we’d wait for our MLB Advisory Board Members from the Astros to wrap up with morning activities so they could meet with us.

While we were waiting, I ran into Jake Beiting who is the Strength and Conditioning coach for the Astros. As I updated him on the work that we have been doing, I handed him a new All Me shirt. It’s always great to visit with the staff that we work with during the season, the guys who are responsible for keeping the players strong throughout the season. After a few minutes of catching up, Jake had to get back to work, so we went back to observing players getting themselves ready for the season. It was about this time that the New York Mets had arrived at the complex to get ready for that day’s game. As the coaching staff was walking through the complex, I ran into Pat Roessler who is the hitting coach for the Mets. I met Pat when I was 12 years old and playing baseball in the local Sarasota Babe Ruth League. At the time, Pat was with the Chicago White Sox and my parents hired him to give me hitting lessons. So it was a special surprise to see him.

About 11am, the Director of Public Relations for the Astros Astros Dallas 2017told me Dallas Keuchel was ready to meet with us. I had the opportunity to meet Dallas in the 2016 season and was looking forward to thanking him for his continued support. Dallas appeared from the club house in a sleeveless shirt and his amazing long beard. After greeting him with a handshake, I told him how much we appreciate him stepping forward to be a role model for kids. As a token of our gratitude, I presented him with his 2017 All Me PSA and some brand new All Me gear which the players love! He even signed a copy of his All Me ad so that we could use it at one of our upcoming fundraisers. The meetings with these players last about 5 minutes because we know their time is important and they have to get back from work.

After about five minutes, Josh Reddick came out to visit us. Itold Josh that the video PSA that he filmed for us when he IMG_1902was in Oakland was a huge hit and that I’ve had groups of kids cheer when we’ve played it for them! Since we don’t have Josh’s updated photo in an Astros uniform I was unable to present him with his award, but he was really excited when I showed him his new All Me tank top. We visited for a few minutes about how much he likes Texas. I told him that I’d connect with him this season when he was in Arlington playing the Texas Rangers and by that time I’d be able to give him his 2017 All Me PSA.

IMG_1922It wasn’t long after Josh disappeared into the clubhouse that flame thrower, Ken Giles, appeared on the patio. I had the opportunity to introduce myself to Ken when he was with the Philadelphia Phillies, so it was great to catch him up on our work. I told him that we appreciated that he wanted to remain and Advisory Board member when he was traded to the Astros. After presenting Ken with his All Me ad, I presented him his new ALL ME tank top and t-shirt. He told me he was excited to wear his new tank to show people that he is definitely All Me!

Following our meetings, we returned to our car and left West Palm Beach. It was time for some down time so we grabbed a bite to eat at a little beach bar on the water. It was a great way to wrap up the day and reflect on the work that we’re doing to raise awareness nationally about the widespread epidemic of youth performance enhancing drug abuse.

I’ll be going to sleep early tonight to get ready for our visit tomorrow with the Met’s before returning to the Gulf Coast.

about the author: Don Hooton