Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Houston Weekend

Every once in a while, I like to get away and spend time with Jason. We did just that this past Friday night!

Our trip began at the Westin Houston Downtown, a hotel which used to be named “Inn at the Ballpark”.

Westin Houston Downtown (4)

We spent many a weekend at Inn at the Ballpark and were unsure of how we would like the transition to the Westin.

Westin Houston Downtown (6)

Surprise surprise, we loved it!!

Westin Houston Downtown (2)

The overall feel of the hotel remained the same – we loved our room, the bed was super comfortable, and the staff was still as friendly and helpful as before. The main change made in the hotel was with the colors and the baseball theming which no longer exists (whomp whomp).

Westin Houston Downtown (3)

Imagine my surprise the following morning at breakfast when I realized the “Ballpark Café” was left untouched! The colors and wall décor were the same as before…I couldn’t have been more excited!

Westin Houston Downtown (5)

We only stayed one night at the Westin, but really enjoyed it and will definitely be back in the future!

Westin Houston Downtown

After checkout, we stopped at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Houston Museum of Natural Science (2)

Prior to our visit, we purchased a Groupon for two tickets for the price of one…score!

Houston Museum of Natural Science (3)

I hadn’t visited the museum since a high school field trip way back when, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Houston Museum of Natural Science (4)

Overall, we enjoyed the exhibits but don’t know if we would visit again any time soon.

Houston Museum of Natural Science (5)

There were a few “hands on” exhibits to see…

Houston Museum of Natural Science

…or should I say “noses on”? Oh Jason…

After spending a few hours at the museum, we made our final stop for the weekend at Minute Maid Park for an Astros game!

Houston Astros Minute Maid Park (2)

It’s been a while since our last Astros game – we try to make a few games each season and this was our first for 2014.

Houston Astros Minute Maid Park (3)

I do love baseball and I love everything about this sport, but I’m a little disappointed with the Astros organization at the moment.

A few seasons ago, the decision was made to combine all of the Houston sports teams to one network, CSN Houston.

Unfortunately, most of the networks around our area do NOT carry CSN Houston and probably never will (even areas as close as an hour away from Houston). This means that a huge percentage of the Astros area fan base are unable to watch regular season Astros games on TV. How in the world can you be a fan of a team if you can’t watch them play? How can you even get to like or know a “favorite player” if you are unable to see any of the games? Sadly, I’ve seen a huge drop in attendance over the past two seasons – the Astros no longer hold that “personal touch” for me. I know the names of maybe two names of players on the field. TWO. Yes, that’s partly because they did a roster overhaul a few seasons ago….but it’s mostly because this long time faithful fan can no longer watch a game from home.

I live a couple of hours from Houston, but the Astros are my closest professional team. You know who I CAN watch on TV? The Rangers and the Braves. Think I can hop over to a Rangers game any time I want? Think again…that’s a 6+ hour drive for me…and Atlanta is way out of the question.

So, that leaves me here – with a blog and a rant. Maybe if enough Houston sports fans get together, we can make a change. Oddly enough, a friend of mine sent this link over to me this morning and it was perfect for everything I’m trying to say here!

OK off my soapbox… :)

Houston Astros Minute Maid Park (6)

I will say this, I had a great time at the game and the Astros won!

Houston Astros Minute Maid Park (4)

Towards the end of the game, I was watching the scoreboard and saw this….

Houston Astros Minute Maid Park (5)

…a picture I posted to instragram earlier in the game!

Luckily, I had my camera in my lap and was able to snap a quick photo before it disappeared! Nifty, huh?

The only other time I’ve been on the scoreboard was with my mom in the old Astrodome sometime around 1996 or so. (See what I mean? LONGTIME FAN.)

After the game, we were given the opportunity to hear a concert by Mercy Me for Faith & Family Night.

Houston Astros Minute Maid Park (8)

These guys were great and everyone really enjoyed them!

Houston Astros Minute Maid Park (9)

On our way out, I stopped for a photo with my old pal Mickey!

Houston Astros Minute Maid Park

Where’s your favorite place to travel for a short weekend getaway? Are you a sports fan? Who’s your favorite professional team? Have you ever made it on the big screen at a game?


  1. Bobby LOVES Mercy me! He would have died. Of course, huge saints fan but we never get to go b/c tickets for nose bleeds are over $100 a ticket. :( Luckily when we lived in biloxi every game was televised, but now being back in madison I am nervous b/c I remember when we used to live her were didn't get to see every game!

    1. I've looked into Saints tickets in the past but just haven't bitten the bullet yet! I hope you get to see all of the games this year!!

  2. You know I love baseball :) Jason is making it a mission to hit up every major league ball park, and since he travels so much he's getting close! We're trying to plan a weekend trip to one of the parks he hasn't been to yet, and Houston is one of those :) Go Braves!

    1. Now that is too cool!! Let me know when you're in Houston...would love to catch a game with y'all!

  3. What a great weekend the 2 of you had! That really stinks about the games that aren't televised and the ones further from you are. That reminds me of our news stations here. The stations we get aren't from our area and the news coverage that is closest to us is not even one of our primary stations. Okay looks like i'm ranting on now!
    I get to go to a Professional game over the 4th and am excited! Oh, by the way, i've seen that Mickey statue at WWS at Disney (of course it was a braves one) but I am wondering how many stadiums have the Mickey statue. Do you know?

    1. That's so crazy! I hate that they do silly things like that!
      YAY, I hope you have a great time at the game! The Mickey statues originated several years ago when the All-Star game was hosted in Anaheim. The statues were then delivered to each team's ballpark. I'm not sure how many actually have theirs out, would be interesting to see!

  4. I love going to the soccer and minor league hockey games in Dallas, but my favorite hockey team is in Detroit. I've never been to Michigan so sadly, never been to the arena.

    1. Fun! We toured the American Airlines Center before it was completely finished. It's beautiful!! Hope you get to see your Detroit team play one day! :0)

  5. Loved seeing your photos posted on the Jumbotron...very cool Karen. We lived in Houston twice, so we are familiar with Minute Maid park although it was Enron stadium when we attended games.

    1. Thanks, Pam! Ah yes, Enron...I remember those days, too! :0)

  6. There are many Los Angeles Dodgers fans that feel your pain Karen over the not being able to watch your team on television. Time Warner Cable has the TV contract with the Dodgers and are the only television provider that carries the channel the Dodgers air on. In most places, you can't even get Time Warner Cable if you wanted to because cable companies have monopolies over certain areas. I know so many Dodgers fans that are extremely unhappy that they can't watch their Dodgers play. They live within a half hour of Dodgers Stadium and can't see their team play on TV unless that game is carried on ESPN or Fox. Two years ago, Time Warner held Lakers fans ransom for the first month of the season until the other cable providers and satellite providers caved in an paid Time Warner to put the Time Warner owned station on the air. I think they weren't too happy about doing this and haven't caved in this time. I live about 15 minutes from Dodgers Stadium and couldn't watch the Dodgers on TV if I wanted to. That's pretty sad. It's okay with me because I'm an Angels fan, though. I do feel bad for my Dodgers loving friends.

    I love Mercy Me! I worked back stage at the Gospel Music Association Dove Awards when they won Artist of the Year and got to briefly meet the guys. They were super nice. The Angels have concerts after a few games each year as well. Although, I haven't made it to one of those games.

    My wife and I were on the jumbo tron for pre-game batting practice at the Big A years ago. The cool thing is that my wife had been given amazing seats right behind the Angels dugout for the game. Our seats not only got us on the jumbo tron during the game, but also on television a whole lot during the dame. We had my parents DVR the game and watched it later to see if we could see ourselves. Sure enough, with every right handed batter, there we were.

    I'm a huge sports fan. My favorite team by far is the Los Angeles Lakers. I'm also a fan of the Anaheim Angels (I refuse to call them the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim because it's a silly name. They don't even play in Los Angeles County.), San Francisco Giants, Oakland Raiders, and USC Trojans Football. Can you tell I'm a Californian?

    1. The whole network thing is SO crazy to me! I wish someone would fix it...cause that's just ridiculous. We wanna see our teams play ball!!

      It's so neat you got to meet Mercy Me! What an amazing opportunity!

      Speaking of amazing opportunities...those SEATS at that game...WOW! How cool!

      Don't worry, they will always be the Anaheim Angels to me! :D

  7. I am glad y'all had a fun weekend! I love baseball games. My husband and I try to go to at least a few every season! I've never had a pic on the jumbotron before, that is AWESOME that y'all made it up there!

    1. Thanks, Lauren! I was like OMG that's US! Haha! Crazy crazy!

  8. How neat that your picture ended up on the big screen at the game! The Westin in Houston looks amazing. We've stayed at a Westin a couple of times and enjoyed it. Glad you guys enjoyed your Houston trip!


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