They arrived cheering and chanting much to the surprise of Bellaire little leaguers, their coaches and parents. No one had any idea a major-league invasion was about to happen, well, no one other than league president Brad Mills, but even he had trouble keeping the secret.
"I did tell our umpire a couple days ago because the worst thing is to have an umpire mad at you," Mills said. "And he kept the secret really well."
The Astros are on the road right now, so while the teams away, the rest of the organization decided to play. After a month and half of planning, just about everyone else on the Astros' payroll arrived at the Bellaire Little League park and crashed a game between the Rangers and Cardinals. With cheering sections equally divided to support each team , another president in attendance, Reid Ryan threw the first pitch. Orbit riled up each dugout, and the teams announcer rattled off the names of each lineup.
"The pitcher number 10, Parker Smith," boomed over the loud speakers as players took the field.
It was the first, but probably not last time the Astros take over an area little league game in this fashion.
"They wanted to come out and give the Minute Maid experience to these kids," Ryan said. "Little league baseball is really special, especially when the who community is behind it."
Mills used Twitter and Facebook to lure unsuspecting little league families to the game. It worked. They packed the stands to see two groups of twelve year old boys do more than just play a game.
" One of the best things is the children in this community go to all different schools," Mills said. " And this is the one thing that brings the neighborhood together."