The 5th George Springer All-Star Bowling Benefit raised more than $250,000 on the evening of June 27, with the proceeds going toward sending economically disadvantaged kids who stutter to the SAY summer camp (SAY stands for the Stuttering Association for the Young). As most Astros fans know, our American League starting All-Star slugger grew up stuttering and now is the SAY national spokesman.
The annual event at Bowlmor on Bunker Hill Road drew an array of local celebrities like Channel 11 anchor Ron Trevino, Channel 2 sports anchor Lainie Fritz, and Houston Dynamo legend Brian Ching. After some poignant speeches by remarkable kids (including one with a show-stopping singing voice), Houstonians bowled for a good cause. (I was an honorary lane captain.) Complimentary refreshments included pizza, pigs in a blanket, and fried mozzarella sticks.
Many of the Astros came to lend their support to Springer’s effort — think José Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Lance McCullers Jr. — and throw a few bowling balls into the gutter. (Stick to your day and night jobs, guys.)
I pulled pitcher Collin McHugh aside (in between sets) for a few fast, hard-hitting questions:
CultureMap: When I watch the games on TV and they show the dugout, there’s always five landline phones on the dugout wall. I figure one is to call the bullpen, and one is to call the Psychic Hotline. Where do you think the other three phones go?
Collin McHugh: One is to call Aramark to have some food sent down to the dugout. One is to call into the clubhouse to see who’s taking a nap. And the other is to call Uber to get me home.
CM: Who controls the music in the Astros clubhouse?
CMcH: Definitely George Springer! He’s the team deejay. He has eclectic taste. My personal favorite is Sunday Funday. We get a lot of Earth, Wind & Fire, which is great by me.
CM: How do you kill time in the clubhouse during a rain delay?
CMcH: I like to watch guys play cards. I know it sounds weird, but we’ve got some really competitive guys, so things get pretty intense. They don’t play poker, it’s usually something like spades or hearts, old school games. Will Harris and Wade Miley are the most intense, tough duo.
CM: Do you have a favorite restaurant on the road that you can’t wait till you visit that team?
CMcH: I’m a coffee geek, and there’s a place, Storyville Coffee in Seattle, that is part of my morning routine. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up, how soon can I get to that coffee place?
CM: When you take a shower after the game, do you bring your own soap and shampoo, or do you use whatever they have in there?
CMcH: I use whatever they have in the shower, but I do bring my own hair product because you never know what you might get stuck with on the road.
CM: Do you find it silly that baseball managers and coaches wear uniforms? It’s not like A.J. Hinch is going to pinch-hit in the ninth inning?
CMcH: Actually, I talk about this with A.J. Hinch all the time. I like the fact that managers and coaches wear uniforms. I think coaches in other sports should have to wear uniforms, too. I think basketball coaches should have to wear basketball jerseys and shorts.
I want to see Bill Belichick wear a helmet and shoulder pads on the sidelines.