ALL ABOARD!

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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The newest member of the Houston Astros, José Abreu met with the media Tuesday and was asked about his dropoff in home runs last season with the White Sox. Abreu's home run numbers dropped from 30 to 15 over the past two seasons.

At Tuesday's press conference, Abreu said expecting 30 homers every year might be a little optimistic, but playing at Minute Maid could be an easy fix to boosting his numbers this season.

Plus, The Killer B's do a deep dive into his stats and find some reasonable answers to why he had a down tick in home runs last season.

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