September 29, 1996

Game Program


Promotional give away:  

         September 27 - Nolan Ryan jersey #34 lapel pins

         September 28 - Nolan Ryan posters

         September 15 - Nolan Ryan photo balls

                        Nolan Ryan press pass

The Houston Astrodome was my home away from home until Nolan relocated 270 miles to the north. Instead of attending 30 games a season near home, I took 15 trips up north to see Nolan pitch for the Texas Rangers. It was not until Nolan had retired before I had reacquainted myself to the Astrodome. When it was announced the Astros were going to retire Nolan's Jersey number, I was on the phone with plastic in hand to order two tickets for the game.

The Astros have the worst marketing department in all of baseball. Not until a week before the game did they even attempt to publicize the promotional dates prior to the ceremonial game. Their efforts were restricted to inhouse promotions during Astro games. Had they even made a effort to promote the weekend, they would have drawn more than the 27,000 they averaged prior to the retirement game.

We arrived at the Astrodome at 11:00am. Gates open two hours before game time. It was a 1:35 start time on the game, but the retirement ceremonies were to start at 1:00pm. Did they open the gates at 11:00? No. They opened at 11:30 keeping their policy of 2 hours prior to game time.

After spending a bundle on Nolan Ryan retirement stuff the Astrodome personnel were hawking, I got to my seat at 12:45. Scanning the stadium, I was suprised to find it was only half full. Ok, they were still buying their souveniers or downing the last beer so they won't miss any of the ceremony. Or so I thought . . As the ceremony had started, the place was still only three quarters filled. The crowd response in my section was tepid to say the least. Only did I start bitching out our section did they in unison get up to applaud. What an embarassment! To the lady sitting in front of me who never did get up until the Star Spangled Banner, you should be ashamed of yourself. Not once did you even put your food down long enough to applaud. But you did stop long enough to get more food. The city of Houston does need a new stadium as a venue for the Astros, but I don't think the so-called "fans" of the city deserves one.

I must admit, I was jaded because the Texas Rangers did such a terrific job two weeks prior. I do applaud owner Drayton McLane's efforts. Now if only he can put the proper personnel in his front office to better promote his team.

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