FOR THE H OF IT

Ken Hoffman uncovers the origin of the Astros 2020 slogan

Photo by Getty Images

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

It happens every spring, the Houston Astros come up with a slogan intended to rally the fans and get the town excited about baseball again. Some examples from recent years: "We Are Your Astros" (2011), "Root. Root. Root. (2012), "Earn History" (2017), "Never Settle" (2018), and "Take It Back" (2019).

For 2020, this year of redemption, the Astros want everybody to know they're doing it "For the H." The Astros want "For the H" to be as ubiquitous as "Keep America Great" or "Not me. Us" (maybe) or "Mike Gets It Done" (pending) and stick around just as long. That would be World Series time in November.

The Astros didn't go with the first light bulb that popped over a mid-level manager's head. Here's all the staff meetings, focus groups, and running up the flagpole that go into the team slogan — from first brainstorm to the sign outside Minute Maid Park — courtesy of Anita Sehgal, Astros senior vice president of marketing and communications.

CultureMap: How long ago did you start thinking up the campaign slogan for 2020?

Anita Sehgal: We started in November — shortly after the World Series. We have used 'For the H' on and off within other campaigns and this year felt right to elevate it and develop a campaign around it.

CM: How important to the Astros is a good slogan that connects with fans and the community?

AS: Incredibly important. Our campaign every year is intended to provide a rallying cry for our fans, players and the community. We want our fans to have a true emotional connection with our team. It is also important that we look at a fully integrated campaign – not just a slogan. Our marketing team wants to ensure our theme is more than just words.

CM: What is the process? How many steps up the corporate ladder before owner Jim Crane gives a thumbs up?

AS: The marketing team leads the process for campaign development. We anchor our process in fan insight. We take our inspiration from how our fans, players, and influencers speak about why they love the Astros and what they look forward to. The team develops mood boards, tagline options and a few design options for consideration.

The team also spends a lot of time developing creative and content ideas on how the campaign will come to life and sustain itself for a full season. It is a collaborative process among many departments within marketing. We generally go through a few iterations until ultimately I sign off and share with our entire executive team, including Jim. Once our executive team has had input, we finalize the campaign and prep it for launch.

CM: How long between first thought to the final okay?

AS: Our campaign process generally takes about two months.

CM: Was the slogan devised in-house or did the Astros go to Madison Avenue for a slogan specialist?

AS: We have an unbelievably talented marketing department in-house that takes this task on every year.

CM: It's unusual that our XFL team, the Roughnecks, also is using "For the H" as its slogan. Are the Astros okay with that? Who came first? Was it done in collaboration?

Continue on CultureMap to find out if the Roughnecks and Astros collaborated on the slogan.

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Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

After rallying in the ninth inning in Game 1 to take the pivotal opener of this best-of-three ALWC series, the Astros were in the driver's seat to try and end the series on Wednesday with another win at Target Field. Here is a quick rundown of Game 2:

Final Score: Astros 3, Twins 1.

Series: HOU Wins 2-0.

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier.

Losing Pitcher: Cody Stashak.

Houston gets the first hit and first run in the fourth

Through the first three innings, neither team could get a hit off of Jose Berrios or Jose Urquidy, though the Twins did load the bases in the bottom of the first on two walks and an error, but Urquidy would strand the runners before getting 1-2-3 innings in the second and third.

Meanwhile, the Astros lineup was retired in order in three perfect innings by Berrios. That changed in the top of the fourth when Houston would get back-to-back two-out walks to set up the first hit of the game, an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Dusty Baker makes another early call to the bullpen before Twins tie it up

Urquidy was able to keep the 1-0 lead by working around a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, the first hit for the Twins. He returned in the fifth, allowing a leadoff single before a strikeout for the first out. Dusty Baker would pull another early hook, like Greinke the day prior, dipping into his bullpen early to end Urquidy's day at just 76 pitches in the fifth. His final line: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 76 P.

Brooks Raley was who Baker called on to face the top of the Twins' lineup. He would walk his first batter, putting runners on first and second, get a strikeout for the second out, then allow an RBI-double to Nelson Cruz that almost scored a second, go-ahead run. Instead, the runner was out at home thanks to a terrific defensive play by Carlos Correa, bulleting the ball to Maldonado at home, who made a great tag to save the run and keep it tied 1-1.

Correa homers, Astros advance to ALDS

After Raley completed the fifth inning for Urquidy, Cristian Javier was the next reliever out to begin the bottom of the sixth. He would toss a 1-2-3 frame, sending the tie game to the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Carlos Correa broke the tie with a long, loud two-out solo home run to center-field, putting the Astros back in front 2-1.

Javier held on to the one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh by working around a leadoff walk, then returned for the eighth. He would get through it scoreless, despite allowing a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz, who would be pinch-ran for by the speedy Byron Buxton. After a strikeout for out number two, Javier would catch Buxton between first and second base in a rundown, getting the big final out of the inning.

Houston added insurance in the top of the ninth, getting two on base before an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, his second of the day to make it 3-1. That left things up to closer Ryan Pressly, making his first appearance of the postseason. He would notch the save, advancing the Astros to the ALDS for their fourth-straight year.

Up Next: The Astros will now have a few days off to travel to the west coast before starting their ALDS with the winner of the A's / White Sox ALWC series. Game 1 of their ALDS will be on Monday, October 5th, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, with start time TBD.

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