Crane arrives in Kissimmee, addresses team
The day began when Astros owner Jim Crane arrived in a helicopter that landed on Field 5 at Osceola County Stadium a little before 8 a.m. ET, which created somewhat of a stir among some of the players. J.D. Martinez sent out a Tweet: “Mr Crane is in the building,” with a picture of the aircraft.
Saturday marked the first full-squad workout of spring, and Crane and manager Bo Porter addressed the club in an upstairs conference room prior to the workout.
“He’s special,” first baseman/designated hitter Carlos Pena said of Crane. “I had the pleasure of meeting him and having a conversation with him, and he’s definitely impressive. He’s got a great story of his own, and that’s exactly what we want to instill in this team, that everything is possible and you can grow and become better as time goes on.”
Pena, who lives nearby in Orlando, got a big bear hug from Rick Ankiel when he came in the clubhouse – a pair of veterans sharing a moment in a wide-eyed clubhouse. Pena talked about the young energy and how grateful he was to be in that atmosphere.
“It’s going to be good as far as Rick and I are concerned,” he said.
With Ankiel putting on his shoes at a nearby locker, Pena spoke loud enough to where he could be heard.
“We go way back to the point I remember standing in the batter’s box and being scared about being hit in the head,” he joked.
“That ended in a strikeout,” Ankiel woofed.
For the record, Pena never faced Ankiel in a regular-season game when Ankiel was still a pitcher.