Foamer Night: Ted’s Space City Venture

There’s been one ringing voice keeping Pitchers & Poets moving forward in the last few weeks: Patrick Dubuque. He’s killing it, and we couldn’t be happier.

Eric is, of course, on sabbatical across the pond, and I figured I’d take a moment to explain where I have been for the last little while. The short answer is: in Houston. I moved here from the rainy city of Seattle. An outsider in the Pacific Northwest, I coped on some level by delving into all things Ichiro and Mariners. I started a blog called Everyday Ichiro, I watched the team on TV, I interviewed Mariners broadcaster Dave Sims about scorekeeping, and I shot the bull about the Ms with my landlord at every opportunity. This was the Jacques Cousteau approach to baseball, meaning you dive right in and start to look around. By writing and watching, watching and writing, I learned the language of the team, and the state of the fan. That’s just what I plan to do in Houston, too.

So I started Foamer Night.

Foamer Night is an Astros blog, through and through, with game reports, style inquiries, essays, images, and any other media that I can relate to the Astros, the Astrodome, Houston, driving, and space. The title refers to a promotion that the Astros brass launched in the 1970s at the Astrodome, utilizing a light on the monstrous Dome scoreboard. I’ll let David Munger explain the rest in words he posted on a comment on Bill McCurdy’s Astros history blog, The Pecan Park Eagle:

I was at a game in the early ’70s and was unaware of Foamer Night. Briefly, if an Astro hit a a Homerun while the Green Light over the Foul Poles was on, it was Free Beer for the remainder of the game [sic, it was the remainder of the inning according to one source]. I was in the Restroom and all of a sudden it felt like an earthquake. I asked my neighbor at the next urinal what the HELL was going on . He said it’s a foamer and he ran towards the exit as he zipped up. The commotion was the WHOLE DOME running to get the FREE BEER. FYI-It was the BOTTOM OF THE FIRST. What a NIGHT.

Houston is my old hometown,1 and the Houston Astros are my hometown team, and as such, some aspects of my experience are familiar, while others have that uncanny familiar yet oddly foreign vibration that can only come from returning to those spots where you cut your teeth and longed to leave.

The Astros themselves are a team of near strangers to me right now. I could count on one hand the number of games of theirs I’ve watched all the way through in the last four years, and for all the attention I’ve paid them they’ve felt as distant as the American Leaguers and their strange and exotic Designated Hitters did when I hitched up in Seattle.

But Foamer Night is my old pickup truck to the Astros’ long and winding road back to prominence and prosperity. The work I’ll put in will be my way of reacquainting with an old flame, and learning the current players the way I knew Biggio, Bagwell, and Berkman back in the old days. Much of my work will deal with the specifics of the team and the games they play, while much will also, hopefully, discuss the history of the team and the city with the Pitchers & Poets-esque baseball navel-gazing style that we so enjoy in this particular space. I don’t expect everybody to come along for the ride. It’s a niche market, and the Astros are a sorry sight to behold right now. But I appreciate the opportunity to show off my new venture here, and hopefully I’ll catch a few Astro-sympathetic eyeballs for those open to a new voice.

As a note, Foamer Night is hosted here at Pitchers & Poets, though you can get straight to it by typing in

  1. For more on returning to one’s hometown, I’ll refer you to Hometown Blues by Steve Earle on YouTube

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