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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Houston loses to end the road trip

Dodgers get best of Odorizzi to split series with Astros

Jake Odorizzi allowed four home runs over three innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After spoiling the night of many Dodgers fans in the opener of this two-game series in Los Angeles the night prior, the Astros returned to the stadium to a fresh set of hostile fans, looking to get the mini-sweep. This one went much more in favor of the home team, though, as the Dodgers would ride three big innings to start the game to the win for the series split.

Final Score: Dodgers 7, Astros 5

Astros' Record: 65-43, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Max Scherzer (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-6)

Odorizzi gets shelled

After a Michael Brantley solo home in the top of the first run against Max Scherzer, making his Dodger debut, it looked like the Astros may continue their momentum from the night before to grab hold of this game as well. However, that all changed in the bottom of the inning, as the Dodgers would tee off against Jake Odorizzi.

In that inning, he allowed four runs, a leadoff solo shot by Mookie Betts, then later a three-run blast by Will Smith. Betts made it 2-for-2 with solo homers in the bottom of the second, extending the lead to 5-1. Things went from bad to worse in the third, with Los Angeles getting their fourth home run, this one for two runs to make it a 7-1 game. Odorizzi would finish the third but go no further.

Scherzer K's 10 over seven innings in his Dodger debut

Houston tried to start clawing back into it in the top of the fourth, getting a second run against Scherzer with a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, trimming the lead to five runs at 5-2. First out of Houston's bullpen was Yimi Garcia in the bottom of the fourth, and he tossed the first 1-2-3 inning for Houston. Rafael Montero was next in the bottom of the fifth, working around a leadoff double followed by a walk for a scoreless inning.

Montero remained in the game in the bottom of the sixth, still 7-2, and would get another scoreless inning, this time sitting down the Dodgers in order. Scherzer finished his quality debut for his new team in the top of the seventh, erasing a leadoff walk to complete seven innings while allowing two runs.

Astros lose to split the series with Dodgers

Brooks Raley was Houston's next reliever, and he, too, would get through a scoreless inning by erasing a two-out single. In the game-within-the-game, the Dodgers brought in Joe Kelly for the top of the eighth, who notched two strikeouts to bring none other than Carlos Correa to the plate, setting up a rematch of the well-known incident that led to the "pouty face" clip from 2020. Carlos Correa won this round, launching a 405-foot homer off of Kelly to make it a four-run game at 7-3.

Phil Maton kept the score there, stranding two runners in the bottom of the eighth to send the 7-3 game to the top of the ninth, where the Dodgers would bring in Kenley Jansen. After a leadoff single, Kyle Tucker would get the Astros within two runs on a two-run homer, making it 7-5. That's as close as they would get, as Jansen would regroup to get the next three batters out to wrap up the loss for Houston.

Up Next: With this road trip completed, the Astros will have a quick turnaround as they catch a late flight back to Houston then turn around with a game Thursday at 7:10 PM Central to open a four-game series with the Twins. Framber Valdez (7-2, 3.01 ERA) will take the mound for Houston in the opener, while Minnesota will counter with Griffin Jax (1-1, 6.41 ERA).

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