The Astros begin a series with the Detroit Tigers, but that won't stop them from interacting with kids and the fans. Tony Kemp, Jose Altuve and Chris Devenski spent their Friday morning at the Astros Youth Academy in northwest Houston.
AYA summer camps occur at the academy for five weeks and are free of charge. Campers do not have to worry if they don't possess the proper baseball equipment. The Youth Academy has its own warehouse, filled with gear for all the campers. T-shirts and hats are also provided for the campers to leave with a memory of the camp.
Throughout the morning, campers participated in scrimmages that were rather intense. The effort was there and they seemed motivated to show out once the players showed up. Some campers even hit home runs off of Kemp and Altuve.
The Astros Foundation Literacy Bus was also present. Campers were able to pick two books and two Astros game day programs. This bus was decked out with Astros material, dating back to the killer b's era.
Towards the end of his visit, Kemp signed the inside of the bus. He said his favorite book growing up was "Holes." Kemp said with everything the main character endured, it always reminded him that life is not always fair.
Altuve shared a special moment with one camper in particular. His name is Mariano, who is from Monterrey, Mexico. Mariano has always wanted to visit an Astros camp, but his parents felt he was not old enough. After penning a letter to the Astros from Mexico, he received an invitation to attend the camp and spend time in Houston.
Mariano primarily speaks Spanish, so him and Altuve spoke near first base during a scrimmage. Altuve said it meant a lot to him, giving him flashbacks of his baseball days in Venezuela. Right before Altuve left, he signed Mariano's hat and left him with an unforgettable moment.
Altuve said taking time to visit potential MLB players is easy. He said it makes him happy to see the happiness in campers when engaging with the Astros players.
"I know I have a game tonight, but it doesn't take that much time to come here," Altuve said.
With the All-Star break occurring next week, players have the opportunity to unwind for a few days. That is the plan for Devenski, who said he will rest his body and focus on "kicking butt" in the home stretch of the regular season.
Astros players visit youth academy, participate in drills