a grand-slam event
As Houston Astros fans are aware, José Altuve was just nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award, Major League Baseball’s most prestigious individual honor. Lance McCullers Jr. has made his wildly anticipated return to the mound. And Kyle Tucker, one of MLB’s quietest superstars, just keeps hitting home runs.
Obviously, then, the star trio would be forgiven for going nowhere but home and Minute Maid Park, given their intense focus. But the good-hearted Astros recently spent a day off hosting fans for the fourth-annual Team Up event, which showcases each of their charities at haute hot spot, Tootsies.
An A-list crowd packed tootsies for the VIP event. Noted names included Astros owner Jim Crane and his wife Whitney; Astros superstar slugger Alex Bregman and his entrepreneur wife Reagan (who are new parents); Astros power hitter Yordan Alvarez and his wife Monica; Astros pitcher Jose Urquidy and wife Estefania; player wives such as Nina Altuve and Kara McCullers; Astros staffers such as marketing guru Anita Seghal and Astros Foundation head Paula Harris; and a host of social stars.
Fans angled to get a glimpse of the Astros World Series championship trophy and the players themselves, who happily and patiently mingled with fans, posed for pics, and even said hello to others via FaceTime requests.
Ace Astros reporter Julia Morales and always energetic auctioneer Johnny Holloway served as emcees and urged the crowd to donate to the trio’s charities: The Sunshine Kids Foundation, which Altuve actively supports; the Lance McCullers Jr. Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for stray animals; and the Kyle Tucker Foundation, a cause near to Tucker’s heart that raises funds for families in hospice care.
Sought-after auction items included a lunch at Turner’s donated by Ben Berg Hospitality with Kara and Lance McCullers Jr., Jose Altuve and Kyle Tucker; one-of-a-kind art by Skel showcasing Astros players; a chance to throw the first pitch at a game plus playoff tickets to all home games — including the World Series, and more.
In all, Houstonians raised $ 370,000 for the three nonprofits under the umbrella charity Athletes and Causes Foundation, which helps star players give back to the community.
As for those players, they — especially McCullers — greeted service dogs who work with veterans. Meanwhile, Astros Shooting Stars members presented precious puppies from Harris County Animal Shelter that were available for adoption. (One adorable pup found a forever home with one of the volunteers at the event.)
“This is our home and we truly love it here,” McCullers told the crowd. “We just want you to know that this comes from the heart.”
No question there, Lance.
Seen in the crowd: Fady Armanious, Bill Baldwin, Hallie Vanderhider, Tony Buzbee, Samantha Scott, Tony Bradfield, Jennifer and Scott Allison, Monica and Joe Casiano, Cherie and John Lindley, Jenna Lindley, Shelli and Steve Lindley, Matthew Lindley, Ginger Baldwin, Raeann and Randy Bates, Natalie and Shaun Hodge, Cheryl Boblitt, Tama Lundquist, Tena Lundquist Faust, Alvin Abraham, Travis Torrence, Christian Morales, Phyllis Williams, Meg Toups, Chelsea Collmer, Laurie Sanders , Chris LaFollette, Lauren Morris, Vicki Luna, Emily Schmeltz, Michael Vanderhider, Lauren Varnado, and many more.