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Ken Hoffman tracks down the Astros train conductor with dynamite dance moves

Ken Hoffman tracks down the Astros train conductor with dynamite dance moves
Napoleon's got nothing on Bobby's dance moves. Courtesy photo

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Went to an Astros games with my talent agent Bernie Shelley last week. We were sitting high up in the rafters and I hit Bernie with a trivia question that almost always stumps fans.

“You see that train that sits atop the Crawford Boxes in left field? Is the train bigger, smaller, or about the same size of a real locomotive?”

Bernie, like most everybody, said “smaller.” Unless you’re sitting in the Crawford Boxes and looking up, or you’re in the upper deck down the left field line, the train and does appear rather small, like an amusement park ride. 

I took out my phone and texted Bobby Dynamite, the Astros train engineer, who promptly fired back, “It’s bigger, by 25 percent.”

I met Bobby Vasquez several years ago at a WWE wrestling show in Houston. He’s a big Roman Reigns fan, which I’ve never understood. It’s almost ended our friendship several times.

Vasquez took the name Bobby Dynamite for his train character after seeing the movie Napoleon Dynamite. Vasquez says he’s got some “sweet dance moves, too.” I’ve never understood that, either. But debates like that make baseball the great game it is.

I’ve been in the Minute Maid Park train three times. The first was during the 2004 playoff series against the St. Louis Cardinals. I was assigned to write a column every game that series. The train column was a cool experience. My favorite, though, was interviewing the person whose job it is to turn off the lights at the ballpark after the game, after all the concession grills are scrubbed cleaned, every piece of litter is collected. 

A couple of years later, Bobby let me bring a few players from my Little League team on the tracks for a pre-game visit. Sure, it was a desperate attempt to get the kids to like me — in between my appearances in front of league officials asking, “You did what during a game last week?”

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Extremely positive Yordan Alvarez update from Astros opens door for landmark year

It's a new year for the Houston Astros as they return to action for their first game of the spring against the Washington Nationals on Saturday.

Every season we see some adjustments to the roster which means we also see some changes in leadership. As Astros fans, we're all aware of Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker's contract situations. Breggy could be gone after the season, and Tucker could follow one year later.

Which means it's pretty clear who the leaders of the team will be for the foreseeable future. Not only are these guys two of the best players on the club, but they're also under contract for several more years. In Altuve's case, through the 2029 season. For Yordan, he won't sniff free agency until 2029.

While these guys aren't your typical vocal leaders, they are both highly respected and lead by example. Leadership is something that's front of mind for Yordan this season, according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome.

Another way to be a leader is to do everything you can to be available for your team. Alvarez changed his diet in the offseason hoping it will help him stay healthy this year.

Manager Joe Espada said Alvarez is fully healthy and he plans on playing him earlier than normal this spring.

Currently, Yordan is trending down in games played for three straight seasons. But he's such a great player that he needs fewer games to put up massive numbers.

He finished 3rd in MVP voting in 2022, and he only played in 135 games out of a possible 162.

So with that in mind, how many games does Yordan need to play this year to win an MVP?

Plus, who's going to protect him in the lineup? With new manager Joe Espada in place, it's hard to know what the lineup will look like.

One thing we do know, Espada immediately named Josh Hader his closer when spring training began. He also told the media that he wants Jeremy Pena to know where he's going to hit every day when he comes to the ballpark.

Espada values players knowing their roles, and getting comfortable in their routines. Something very different from last season when manager Dusty Baker moved Pena all over the lineup throughout the season.

So what does all this mean for Yordan?

Be sure to watch the video above as we break it all down!

Catch Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every Monday on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel.

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