Tonight was slated to be the last Houston Astros spring-training game at Osceola County Stadium, but the team’s 32-year run in Kissimmee ended not with a bang, but with a whimper, as the game was rained out.
Actually, it’s a little unfair to say it ended not with a bang, as a scheduled fireworks show was held for the hearty fans who showed up and endured a two-hour delay before the game was called. From the Houston Chronicle:
“I remember walking in here the first day of spring training, ever, in ’09,” said catcher Jason Castro, one of three Astros who’s been on the major league team every year from 2012 on. “It was a completely different time in the organization, different atmosphere. I’ll always remember that, for sure, walking in and sharing the clubhouse with Lance (Berkman), Roy (Oswalt), Carlos Lee, Blummer (Geoff Blum). … even Hunter (Pence) and Michael (Bourn) — those guys were just coming on to the scene.”
Fans were directed by the public address announcer early in the evening to get a beer and take shelter as lightning moved through the area, and the rain kept coming. A scheduled 6:05 p.m. start was called just before 8, the field unplayable with rain still on the way.
The team isn’t moving out of the complex quite yet. The minor leaguers play through next week, the clubhouses will be used to prep players for road games this coming week, and extended spring and Gulf Coast League play will continue this spring and summer. But tonight marks the end of Astros spring-training games at the ballpark, as the team preps for a move to The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches for spring 2017.