HOUSTON – Behind the home plate at Minute Maid Park, Astros fans will see cutouts of former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush sitting where they usually sat. While thousands of Astros fan cutouts fill the seats, the Astros welcome this new opportunity for fans to part of this unique and unprecedented season.
This interaction has brought joy to fans like 80-year-old Charlotte Smith, an Astros superfan, who has her cutout near the former first couple.
“I thought--’Oooh pretty good!” Yknow?” Smith laughed.
Smith, who celebrated her birthday in late August, was delighted to have a cutout. Her daughter, Leisha Brown, surprised with the thoughtful gift.
“I thought well this would be a good way out getting here there without her actually being there,” Brown said.
With all of Smith’s doctor appointments, participating in the Astros season is good medicine.
“I said I’ve been married 60 years...but too bad! (José) Altuve is my boyfriend,” Smith laughed.
Smith and her husband cheer for the Astros loyally, and the cutout brings them extra joy.
“It just makes me happy, and it just makes me forget what I’ve got going on with my body,” Smith said.
Returning the fan spirit
The fan cutouts, which are locally made with authenticated cardboard, has brought so much joy for various reasons. Astros officials said the cutouts have returned the spirit of fans to an otherwise empty stadium.
“Before this it was empty,” said Anita Seghal, the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications.
She said it only takes a second to get lost in the stories behind every cutout.
“Fans really embraced it. We’ve got probably about 5,500 fan cutouts in various places,” Seghal said.
Fans can order the cutouts online. The boards can showcase fans in Astros gears, as well as pets, even squirrels. For a tax-deductible donation, fans can upload a photo and the team will find a seat for the cutout inside the park.
For $100, the cutout will be placed in the lower bowl seating area at Minute Maid Park. While a donation of $50 using the code FAN50 will get a cutout in the upper deck, officials said.
At the end of the season, fans will be able to pick up their cutout and a complimentary 2019 American League Championship Series Replica Ring for each cutout purchased.
Ultimately, the Astros foundation said this opportunity is to help give back to Houston and its neighbors. As of August 30, the foundation announced the funds from the cutouts will benefit Hurricane Laura survivors.
“It’s for us during this time to continue to be able to give back,” Seghal said.