Daily Craig: No more Kissimmee
The Astros have finished their spring business in Kissimmee. For good. It began when the club moved from Cocoa Beach in 1985. I didn't get the Florida trip that 1st exhibition season in 1985. Ron Franklin and I were the sports dudes at Ch. 2 and Ron had me stay in Houston to keep track of...i can't remember what. I did use his daily reports on the sports casts and the new Osceola Stadium sure looked good. The street leading to the park is LINE DRIVE.Guys like Dave Smith made good use of the pond behind the center field wall. He fished there every day. A junior college is across the street and their baseball team hung out to watch the Astros every morning. Just to add a real touch of Texas there is a Rodeo Arena beyond the gap in right center.
I finally got the Central Florida call the 2nd year the team trained in Kissimmee. It was 1986 AND BOY did thatturn into quite the season. Along the way I was allowed to suit up for a few days with the team. One of the new guys in 1989 told me I looked like a ball player. Craig was his first name too. Rafael Ramirez had me hold his $40k bonus check and I forgot to give it back for 2 days. Funny, he diidn't seem to miss it.
We always did our SPORTS SUNDAY show live from the clubhouse. The Friday before we always did our shows from the Stadium. The guy who ran the complex, Don Miers, would leave the stadium lights on so we could do our thing. We gave him some cash to help with the power bill. Don is still in charge. I hope he is holding down expenses.
Next spring it's off to a new complex in West Palm Beach. The Astros have Kissimmee'd the old place good bye. Without the years there I am sure I would never have spelled the town's name right.