|Friday, April 7, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 128
Elrod on Elian
Ed De La Garza
It's the (other) first game!
The Houston Astros will play the first regular season game in their new home, Enron Field, at around 7 p.m. today.
Unfortunately for some fans, tonight's matchup against the Philadelphia Phillies is a bit anti-climactic. The Astros' first game ever at Enron, a meaningless exhibition game against the New York Yankees, was hyped up by every Houstonian, and deservedly so.
"The Inaugural Game at Enron Field" on March 30 was when all the firsts were recorded. The first pitch (thrown by Dwight "Doc" Gooden), the first RBI (driven in by Jeff Bagwell), the first home run (slammed by the Yankees' Ricky Ledee) and the first win (an exciting 6-5 come-from-behind Astros victory) were all exaggerated as the "firsts" at Enron Field.
Tonight's game will indeed feature all the hoopla included in every Astros regular season home opener. Last year's Central Division Championship banner will be unveiled, the other championship banners will most likely be unveiled for the first time in Enron, all the players and coaches will be introduced and, this year, the Houston Symphony will play the national anthem.
However, doesn't it all seem a bit "after the fact?" For those of you who went to the Inaugural Game against the Yanks, most of you should agree that nothing could ever beat that feeling. The night was complete. A great introduction, a beautiful demonstration of the new retractable roof and a dramatic win for the home team.
For those of you who love the game, opening day is always something to look forward to. For those of you who play fantasy baseball, this game (and every other game played at Enron and everywhere else in the league) is important.
But again, you just can't match the magic of March 30's game. It was exciting. It was dramatic. It was a classic game.
The only difference between then and now is that tonight's game will count. Every hit, every strikeout, every pitch, every home run and every walk will be recorded.
Either way, it's worth the trip to Enron. Contrary to previous popular belief, parking is not that big of a deal. In fact, it's really easy -- as easy as it was at the Astrodome.
But the real beauty about the Astros' new ballpark is the retractable
roof (when it's opened, anyway, and it will be tonight). Outdoor major
league baseball is something few Houstonians have witnessed and something