While the baseball VIPs strolled into Minute Maid Park's Diamond Club for pre-gala cocktails, the TV news teams swarmed in the lobby hoping to get a word from notables including MLB Hall of Famers Craig Biggio, Reggie Jackson and Nolan Ryan, Astros owner Jim Crane and his leading players.
The "Diamond Dreams Gala" was fertile ground for baseball sound bites.
It was also fertile ground for fundraising with the night garnering $1.3 million for the foundation which operates with about $7 million. The generous supporters were rewarded with a cooler-than-cool after-dinner concert by five-time Grammy winner James Taylor.
"Four years ago, we started to build the foundation to give back to Houston and a lot of charities in town," Crane told the gathering of 900 as they settled into their seats on the playing field at Minute Maid Park. "We've tightened the focus on our charities to youth baseball, education, supporting the military and the homeless. Tonight, we're here to help a new organization, New Hope Housing."
The cocktail-attire dinner event was chaired by Terri and John Havens and Sheridan and John Eddie Williams, Astros investors. They were among the VIPs schmoozing with the players in the Diamond Club including Astro investor Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, Lauren and Worth Snyder, Ellie and Michael Francisco, Krystal Crane Thompson, Jared Crane, Jimmy Wynn and Reid Ryan. Mayor Sylvester Turner arrived in time to visit with guests on the Minute Maid field.
Players joining the party included Colby Rasmus, Jose Altuve, Luis Valbuena, Ken Giles, Marwin Gonzalez, Preston Tucker, Jon Singleton, Jake Marisnick, and Scott Feldman.