WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (KTRK) -- Class is in session for spring training at West Palm Beach, Florida for the Houston Astros, even on weekends and holidays.
"If you don't do your homework, you don't pass the test," Astros manager Dusty Baker explained on Sunday. "And that's what this is: homework."
Baker, who's been in baseball for more than four decades, told ABC13 that spring training is a grind. But it's preparation for the marathon that is a 162-game regular season.
To help break up the monotony of camp, multiple Astros players had their families on hand Sunday, including pitcher Ryan Pressly and catcher Martin Maldonado.
"Every time I leave the house, it's harder and harder," Maldonado said of his two children, 5-year-old Anaiah Mila and 3-year-old Aiden. "We get paid for this game, but at the end of the day, you try to get your kids involved. We spend so much time here, so when you have a chance just to bring them in and say hi to the teammates, it's always fun."
According to Maldonado, his children are not the only "little ones" on the fields in West Palm Beach on Sunday.
"He walked in today, and I couldn't believe that little guy is one of the best hitters in the game," Maldonado said.
Who was he talking about? None other than second baseman Jose Altuve.
Altuve, the eight-time MLB All-Star, arrived at training as a now two-time World Series champion.
"What we did last year was amazing," Altuve said. "Obviously, everybody wants to win a World Series. It's not like we're going to forget about it, but we're going to put it aside for a little bit to get ready and prepare the way we should. We want to try and make it happen again this year."
This year is yet another in which the Astros will try to get back to the American League Championship after losing a star from the previous season.
As Justin Verlander exits, just like Carlos Correa did before him and George Springer before him, Altuve remains. At 5 feet 6 inches and 167 pounds, he is the pillar of this perennial playoff power.
"He's the model of this clubhouse," Maldonado said of Altuve. "Everyone is excited every time we see him, and we're looking forward to having another season next to him."
"Everybody that comes here cares about winning," Altuve said. "We're on the same page. We're all pulling in the same direction, and I think that's all that matters."
When the Astros make their homework a group project, they often pass the test.