HOUSTON -

This week on "Houston Newsmakers:" Houston Astros President Reid Ryan says this year will be better. Ryan, in his first full season as president of the Astros, says everything about the team is headed in the right direction.

The Astros lost 111 games last season, the worst record in team history, but the Astros' farm system is recognized as one of the better ones in Major League Baseball. Ryan says he's not nervous.

"I'm excited," he said. "This is a fun time of the year, you know hey we're in first place. Spring is the time when everyone is an optimist and we feel like we're going into this season with a head of steam so we're ready to go."

Opening Day is Tuesday April 1 at is 6:10 p.m. at Minute Maid Park against the New York Yankees.

Also joining Marshall for this week's program is Daryl Wade, the director of the Astros Urban Youth Academy.

"Baseball instruction is very expensive," he said. "Our instruction is free to anyone in the Houston area who wants to come out and learn baseball."

Thousands of gallons of oil spilled into Galveston Bay after a barge and ship collided. The event is over but the effects of that spill are far reaching. Bob Stokes is the president of the Galveston Bay Foundation. His foundation works to preserve the natural resources of the bay and says even before the spill there have been problems in Galveston Bay.

"We've lost over 35,000 acres or wetlands in the Galveston Bay system. We've lost over 90 percent of our sea grass in West Bay," he said.

Also on the program is Scott Smith, the chief scientist of Water Defense, an organization that works to make water safe. Smith has invented techniques to clean water soiled by spills like the one in Galveston Bay. He says the techniques being used to clean the Galveston oil are outdated especially considering the hazard involved.

"There's a whole range of chemicals and people think that because there's no black oil, the problem is minimal," he said. "It's the clear, colorless, odorless chemicals and the metals that are moving around that water column that we need to fingerprint."

Stokes and Smith provide critical insight into what lies ahead for the ecosystem and the people who live in or near it and depend on the bay for their livelihoods.

It is a very informative half hour! Watch "Houston Newsmakers" with Khambrel Marshall Sunday at 10 a.m., right after "Meet the Press" with David Gregory.

More Information:
•Reid Ryan, President-Houston Astros,  713-259-8000,   www.astros.com
•Daryl Wade, Director Astros Urban Youth Academy, 713-259-8000 www.astros.com
•Bob Stokes, President, Galveston Bay Foundation, 281-332-3381, www.galvbay.com
•Scott Smith, Chief Scientist-Water Defense, 845-476-7039, http://waterdefense.org