12 home run hot spots near Minute Maid Park to pregame before the Astros

12 home run hot spots near Minute Maid Park to pregame before the Astros
Take a ride on the ferris wheel at Truck Yard. Courtesy photo

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

There’s no better time to catch your World Series champs than right now in Houston. The hot bats, the All-Star pitching rotation, Orbit’s hilarious antics — it all adds up to an amazing fan experience in one of only six covered, air-conditioned ballparks in the league.

To add to that fan experience, we’ve rounded up some of the best Astros pregame destinations. These bars and restaurants' happy hours, free shuttles, and nearby free parking make them go-to, pregame favorites. So, don your favorite orange and blue gear, grab your tickets, and hit up these 12 Houston hot spots before the game.

Truck Yard
You won’t find happy hour here, but you’ll find pretty much everything else a Houston sports fan could want, including a huge selection of frozen drinks — all made in-house ($8-$15) — as well as barrel-aged and canned cocktails. To take your Truck Yard adventure up a level, pair a drink with a ride on the on-site, vintage Ferris Wheel for only $10. And then, of course, snap a pic in your favorite Astros gear and post it on Instagram. This new Houston spot has a fun vibe with refreshing drinks with combined indoor and outdoor seating. 2118 Lamar St.

Distance from Minute Maid Park: 10-minute walk 

Parking: Free parking in East Village lot, as well as street parking and rail proximity. 

Rodeo Goat
Enjoy happy hour from 4-7 pm Monday through Friday (our favorite pick is half-off cheese fries every Wednesday), or grab a beer bucket anytime — where you’ll get five beers for the price of four. Though it’s not on the happy hour menu, you need to try the super festive Moontang drink ($7) — a mix of Firefly Moonshine blended with Tang — that just so happens to be Astros orange. Talk about a team spirit. 2105 Dallas St.

Distance from Minute Maid Park: 10-minute walk 

Parking: Free parking in East Village lot, as well as street parking and rail proximity.

Lucky’s Pub Downtown
Happy hour is 4 pm-7 pm with $3 domestic drafts and wine and $4 well drinks, plus Astros game day specials like $18 buckets of beer — and the fun game day drink special called Orange Crush. Enjoy the 16,000 square feet of indoor space, four private rooms, or two outdoor patios, then take a free shuttle to and from all games and enjoy indoor and outdoor seating, plus the occasional block party for big games. 801 St. Emanuel St.

Distance from Minute Maid Park: 5-minute walk

Parking: Free parking in both of their lots (fill up fast), plus nearby free street parking after 6 pm and all day on Sunday, plus a free shuttle to and from all games.

Lucky’s Lodge
Enjoy a weekly happy hour from 4 pm-7 pm with $3 domestic drafts and wine, $5 Moscow Mules and Old Fashions, and $5 mini flatbreads. Or, you can indulge in cigars, high-end bourbon and scotch, if that’s more your thing. There are four indoor TVs and two more on the patio (if you don’t feel like making the walk over). Don't miss the live music on Thursdays (before or after the game). 2024 Rusk St.

Distance from Minute Maid Park: 5-minute walk 

Parking: Free parking in both of their lots (they fill up fast), plus nearby free street parking after 6 pm and all day on Sunday and FREE shuttle to and from all games (parked across street at Lucky’s Pub). 

8th Wonder Brewery
Located in EaDo, 8th Wonder is one of Houston’s top craft breweries and one of the city’s top sports havens. If you want space to roam and drink your beer among other sports fans, you’ve found your spot. This pre-game destination offers happy hour prices (three 12-ounce beers for $12.99) and is decked out with Houston sports memorabilia. Look for beers like Dome Faux’m (a throwback Cream Ale) and Rocket Fuel (Vietnamese Coffee Porter). 2202 Dallas St.

Distance from Minute Maid Park: 15-minute walk

Parking: Nearby free street parking or a pay lot on Dallas Street between Emancipation and Hutchins.

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More changes are coming in MLB. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

Ronald Acuña Jr. and Corbin Carroll just got a little more dangerous. Same for Bobby Witt Jr., Elly De La Cruz and the rest of baseball's fastest players.

Major League Baseball wants umpires to crack down on obstruction, and the commissioner's office outlined plans during a call with managers this week. MLB staff also will meet managers in person during spring training to go over enforcement.

The increased emphasis is only on the bases and not at home plate. The focus is on infielders who drop a knee or leg down in front of a bag while receiving a throw, acting as a deterrence for aggressive baserunning and creating an increased risk of injuries.

“I think with everything, they’re trying to make the game a little safer to avoid some unnecessary injuries," Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said Friday at the team's facility in Florida. “The intentions are always good. It comes down to how it affects the players and the games. I’m sure there will be plays where one team doesn’t like it or one team does.”

With more position players arriving at spring training every day, the topic likely will come up more and more as teams ramp up for the season.

“We'll touch on that. We'll show them some video of what’s good and what’s not,” Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “You know, it’s going to be a little adjustment.”

Making obstruction a point of emphasis fits in with an ongoing effort by MLB to create more action. Obstruction calls are not reviewable, which could lead to some disgruntled players and managers as enforcement is stepped up, but it also means it won't create long replay deliberations.

A package of rule changes last season — including pitch clocks, bigger bases and limits on defensive shifts and pickoff attempts — had a dramatic effect. There were 3,503 stolen bases in the regular season, up from 2,486 in 2022 and the most since 1987.

MLB changed a different baserunning rule this offseason, widening the runner’s lane approaching first base to include a portion of fair territory. MLB also shortened the pitch clock with runners on base by two seconds to 18 and further reducing mound visits in an effort to speed games.

“Last year, you know, a lot of our preparation was around like, especially just the unknown of the clock and making sure like we’re really buttoned up on that," New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "These guys are so used to it in so many ways that sometimes I even forget.”

Increased enforcement could lead to more action on the basepaths. But a significant element of MLB's motivation is injury prevention.

Top players have hurt hands or wrists on headfirst slides into bases blocked by a fielder. White Sox slugger Luis Robert Jr. sprained his left wrist when he slid into Jonathan Schoop's lower left leg on a steal attempt during an August 2022 game against Detroit.

“It’s been happening for a while. It’s been getting out of control," Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “I know some of the players complained about it the last two years.”

While acknowledging his reputation as a significant offender, Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott didn't sound too worried about his play.

“We like to fight for outs at second base,” he said. "It’s never on purpose, blocking the base. For me, or someone covering second to the shortstop side, it’s a natural move for your knee to go down to reach the ball. It’s never intentional. I guess we’ll figure out how to maneuver around that.”

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