Photo by Lauren Holub

Every Saturday afternoon since March, a group of kindergarten boys has been taking the baseball field in Spring Branch, displaying skills and determination emulating their namesake team, the World Series Champion Houston Astros.

With a remarkable 14-game winning streak, these pint-sized athletes have captured their community's attention and are set to compete in the championship game this weekend.

Within the Spring Branch Memorial Sports Association (SBMSA), which boasts 52 teams of five to six-year-olds, this extraordinary group of youngsters has emerged as the cream of the crop. Their outstanding performance throughout the season has earned them a shot at a perfect record, with only one final game standing in their way.

The impressive success of these young 'Stros even caught the attention of Lance McCullers Jr., who sent a heartwarming video message to the team. The Astros pitcher emphasized the importance of having fun on the field and cherishing the camaraderie of playing Little League with close friends.

Lance McCullers JrLMJ gave the young hopefuls some sage advice. Photo by Tim Warner Getty Images

"You play your best when you're having fun," McCullers Jr. said, "and playing Little League with your best friends are some of the most amazing times of your life!"

Head coach Steven Rasch commends the boys for their unwavering commitment and effort. "These boys have demonstrated an exceptional work ethic," he says. "Through regular practices and additional batting cage sessions with their supportive parents, their skills have grown exponentially throughout the season."

Reflecting on their journey, Coach Rasch highlights pivotal games where hits and double plays played a crucial role in the team's victories, proudly adding, "Our offense and defense truly complement each other."

Whether the team wins or loses on Saturday, it has been an outstanding season for the players and their families.

"We are so proud of these boys. It has been a long season, but the growth the boys have experienced over the past few months has been phenomenal to witness," Lauren Holub, mom of little 'Stros player Henry, tells CultureMap. "Getting a personalized message from Lance was just icing on the cake for the boys – they were literally jumping up and down with excitement, and it motivated them to keep going, for sure."

Photo by Lauren Holub

The SBMSA Astros team is heading into their championship game undefeated.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

Astrodome transforms into 'entertainment village' in new redevelopment plan

new day for the dome?

A second life for the "8th Wonder of the World"?

"I envision a gateway to the future of NRG Park," native Houstonian Mike Acosta told ABC13. "A multi-faceted entertainment village."

Early in 2023, Acosta began the formal process of putting together a plan to revitalize the Astrodome — a building he says remains structurally sound. In light of recent statements by local officials, many made to ABC13, he's ready to match those comments with concepts.

"My goal is to bring a vision," Acosta revealed. "Let's not talk about what is difficult — that's not what Houston is. Houston is about getting things done."

What Acosta, along with three partners — all with connections to the Dome — wants to get done through an LLC called Astrodome reIMAGINEd, is use private funds to develop the Dome into a publicly accessible, revenue-generating destination to work with NRG Park's primary tenants.


Continue reading the story, with accompanying video, on our news partner ABC13.

Lance McCullers Jr., José Altuve, and Kyle Tucker Team Up for $600,000 grand slam charity bash

outta the park

Houston has long topped lists for most generous cities in America, and our celebrity pro athletes have always been MVPs in that regard.

A grand slam example is Team Up, an annual event starring Houston Astros superstars Lance McCullers Jr., José Altuve, and Kyle Tucker. The trio recently hosted their fifth annual Team Up event, which raises funds for the three beloved charities they each founded, working with the well-respected Athletes and Causes foundation.

A 30-second timeout for our Tailgate

More on the Team Up event, but first, Houstonians who want to step up for tomorrow’s athletes should hit CultureMap’s Tailgate event.

Our big, sports-themed bash returns at 7 pm Wednesday, October 25 at Silver Street Studios (2000 Edwards St.). Fans can enjoy sports-inspired bites from some of Houston’s top and award-winning restaurants and premium cocktails. Partiers can also bid on memorabilia from Texas legends, get their game on with game-day fun, and check out local sports-focused nonprofits and give back in a big way.

Early bird tickets are $35 and $60 for VIP through Saturday, September 30, then move to $50 for general admission; $75 for VIP. Find a full roster of the hot restaurants, sponsors, plus more information here. Kill any chance of FOMO and grab tickets early: Like all great CultureMap events, tickets will go fast.

Astros, A-listers, and fans Team Up for a huge night

Back to Team Up — also held at Silver Street Studios — where more than 500 fans gathered for a chance to meet the three Astros stars and for score coveted photos with them. The record-breaking event raised more than $600, 000 and support their charities: the Lance McCullers Jr. Foundation, which supports animal rescue, adoption, and no-kill shelters; the Kyle Tucker Foundation, which assists those in need of hospice care; and the José Altuve Foundation, which supports the Sunshine Kids foundation.

Astros players’ wives were on hand to support their hubbies, as well as teammates Ryan Pressly, Michael Brantley, Maurico Dubon, Kendall Graveman, and Grae Kessinger. Astros staffers also showed up to support the cause and mingle with the crowd.

Nina and Jos\u00e9 Altuve Team Up 2023Nina and José Altuve.Photo by Catchlight Group

High-rolling local philanthropists and fans checked out and snapped pics of the mini fleet of Rolls Royce and Bentley rides on display. Refreshments came courtesy of a Champagne wall and specialty spirits and cocktails from Maven (McCullers is a partner). Attendees got a chance to win jewelry or a highly coveted Astros World Series ring and learned more about each charity, including Bo’s Place.

“For us, it’s a big night to represent Houston and all the people who are here,” McCullers told us (we’ve been hanging with him at Team Up events since 2018). “We restaurants, people in the beverage space, partners — all these people who help throw this amazing event. And we have the amazing charities here and the one’s we’re here representing, so it’s just an important night for us. We’re just really proud to represent Houston, represent the Astros, and keep coming every year to make it bigger and better.”

Lance McCullers, Jr., Beau King, Jos\u00e9 Altuve, Joanne King Herring, and Kyle Tucker Team Up 2023Lance McCullers, Jr., Beau King, José Altuve, Joanne King Herring, and Kyle Tucker.Photo by Catchlight Group

The fiery, always team-first Astros ace also reminded fans not to sweat the season — and postseason. “We control our own destiny — we’re in first place,” he said. “ We’re confident in the team that we have, so we have to just make sure that we go play our best brand of baseball. If we win the division — that’s our goal — we don't have to worry about anybody else.”

We also pressed McCullers to come up with another epic slogan this year, after her dropped the unforgettable “Bury Me in The H” rally last year. (We’re waiting, LMJ.)

Dream sports packages and fur babies FTW

Emcees Julia Morales, the fan-fave Astros reporter, and emcee/auctioneer Johnny Holloway hyped the crowd for the live and silent auction, which featured a widely sought-after private dinner with Kara and Lance McCullers Jr., Altuve, and Tucker. One-of-a-kind art by Skel of dazzling portraits of Altuve, McCullers, Tucker, the team were also hot items, as well as a chance to throw the first pitch at a game plus Diamond Club seats.

Julia Morales and Johnnie Bravo Team Up 2023Julia Morales and Johnnie Bravo.Photo by Jacob Power

Even the Rockets got int the game: bidders threw their hands up for courtside Rockets tickets along with a dinner in the owner's suite, courtesy of Blake Fertitta.

Adorable puppies and doggos from Animal Shelter and Adoptions melted hearts; one adorable fur baby found a forever home with one of the volunteers. A handsome and noble service dog also reminded the crowd of the importance of saving and supporting animals.

Tena Lundquist Faust, Margie Lundquist, Sandra Cooper, Tama Lundquist Team Up 2023Tena Lundquist Faust, Margie Lundquist, Sandra Cooper, Tama Lundquist, and an adorable pup.Photo by Catchlight Group

Partiers stepping up for the grand slam night included: Nina Altuve, Samantha Scott, Kat Pressly, Joanne King Herring, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner, Donna and Norman Lewis, Frances and Tony Buzbee, Danny and Iris Shaftel, Monica and Joe Casiano, Cherie and John Lindley, Jenna Lindley, Shelli and Steve Lindley, Matthew Lindley, Randy Hopper, Bill Baldwin andFady Armanious, Randy Bates, Tama Lundquist, Tena Lundquist Faust, Christine and Steve Johnson, Jody Merritt, Edna Meyer-Nelson, Chris LaFollette, Mick Pritchett, Charlene Floyd, Bobbie Nau, Lesha Elsenbrook, Shelley Boyer, Melissa and Dan Sugulas, Katie and Jon Deal, and many more.

Top things to do this weekend in Houston: J.J. Watt comes home, food fests, and more

weekend event planner

Now that Houston is recovering from Beyoncé's big homecoming, we can settle into local entertainment. Look for some cool concerts from OGs Guns N’ Roses, moody tunes from Japanese artist Joji, and local future stars at HSPVA.

Or, feast on two food fests: Chefs for Farmers and the new Chopd & Stewd, which celebrates the West African diaspora and its robust culture and food. Later raise a stein when CityCentre turns into a biergarten.

Enjoy; here are your best bets for the weekend.

Thursday, September 28

Avondale House presents Bingo Bash

Avondale House presents the 4th Annual Bingo Bash, with emcees Briana Conner and Adam Winkler of ABC13. All guests have the chance to win prizes throughout the evening, along with an opportunity to bid on and win auction items. Sponsors will choose their own table themes and dress according to the theme for a chance to win the Best Dressed Table competition. Proceeds will benefit the Avondale House’s four program areas: the day school, adult day program, residential program and supported employment services. 5:30 pm.

Guns N’ Roses in concert

We don’t know about you, but we’re glad Guns N’ Roses are currently on tour with at least some of the original members. That Chinese Democracy-era Guns N’ Roses, when frontman Axl Rose was backed up by some other musicians (including a guy named Buckethead, who wore a KFC bucket on his head), was ridiculous. Rose obviously realized this, which explains why he mended fences with guitarist Slash and bassist Duff McKagan and are now on the road, taking us back to those Appetite for Destruction glory days. 6 pm.

Friends of River Oaks Theatre presents Metropolis

Friends of River Oaks Theatre will host a special screening consisting of new short films made by inspired artists, followed by Fritz Lang’s groundbreaking science fiction epic, accompanied by an original live score by Omar Vincent Al-Bochi. An open call was made for artists to create and submit short films inspired by and using elements from Metropolis, which will be screened at this event. There will be an audience award given to the top film choice on the night of the event. 7:30 pm.

Friday, September 29

The Menil Collection presents "Chryssa & New York" opening day

"Chryssa & New York," the first major survey of artwork by Chryssa in the United States since 1982, is co-organized by the Menil and Dia Art Foundation. The exhibition explores the work of the Greek-born artist, one of the first to incorporate neon into her practice. Her pivotal use of the medium, along with found elements of commercial signage and text, bridged ideas from the pop, conceptual, and minimalist movements. Through Sunday, March 10. 11 am.

Asia Society Texas Center presents Richie Goods and Chien Chien Lu: “Connected”

During the COVID-19 lockdown, jazz/funk bassist Richie Goods and vibraphonist, percussionist, and composer Chien Chien Lu’s conversations about the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-Asian violence inspired them to collaborate on a project to unify people and invoke imagery of love and peace, resulting in the musical arrangements “The Path” (September 2020), “We Three Kings” (November 2020), and “Rain” (December 2021). They will perform selections from Connected, their collaborative jazz album. 7 pm.

Teatrx presents La Vida Es Cortos/Life Is Shorts Festival

Teatrx's annual La Vida Es Cortos festival encapsulates Hispanic Heritage Month by exploring short stories through live theatre and cinema. The festival will showcase a diverse lineup of short films by independent filmmakers from around the U.S. and Latin America. This year, the fest will also provide programming for young audiences by adding La Vida Es Cortitos, two morning performances dedicated to showcasing short plays and films for young audiences ages 5 and up. 7:30 pm (10:30 am, 2:30 & 7:30 pm Saturday; 10:30 am & 2:30 pm Sunday).

Joji in concert

It’s hard to believe that the same guy who was once known as YouTube grossout king Filthy Frank is now one of the most prolific singer-songwriters out there, dropping dark, lo-fi tunes that are essential for any sad-boy playlist. George Kusunoki MIller, who’s better known these days as Japanese music star Joji, has had albums that have topped the Billboard R&B, alternative, and rock albums charts. So, you can expect a very multicultural collection of moody young people when he performs at Toyota Center this weekend. 8 pm.

Saturday, September 30

Chopd & Stewd ‘23

Home to the largest Nigerian and West African population in the U.S., Houston is hosting Chopd & Stewd, the first-of-its-kind culinary festival celebrating the West African diaspora. Houstonians and visitors are welcome to a day of cultural immersion and education, engaging dialogue, gourmet dining, vibrant music, wellness programs and more. This fest pays homage to the far-reaching influences of the West African diaspora, enabling all to retrace their ancestral connections through a day-long series of immersive events and experiences. 9 am.

PXG Houston presents Community Golf Competition

Get ready for the ultimate community golf challenge. Join PXG Houston to watch the U.S. Team take on Europe in Rome and test your skills against fellow U.S. Team fans in a "closest-to-the-pin" competition. Utilizing state-of-the-art Trackman technology, PXG will choose a special hole from the prestigious Marco Simone Golf & Country Club course in Rome, Italy, which is hosting this year's competition. Participants will feel the thrill of playing on the same course as team captain and PXG golfer Zach Johnson. 10 am.

Chefs For Farmers

Chefs For Farmers, Texas’s premier food and wine festival, returns to Houston, offering an extra day to experience the immersive culinary journey. Held both Saturday and Sunday, this all-inclusive tasting event features Houston’s top chefs and culinary personalities serving up curated, locally sourced dishes in their effort to promote and showcase family farms throughout Texas. From immersive activations and live entertainment to wines from the top vineyards and craft cocktails, Chefs For Farmers has something for everyone to experience. 1 pm.

The Manhattan Dolls in concert

Step into the golden age of music as the 1940 Air Terminal Museum celebrates the timeless melodies of the 1930s and 1940s in this remarkable fundraising event. The Manhattan Dolls, a dynamic vocal trio, will take you on a sentimental journey through the iconic music of the era, providing a delightful blend of beautiful ballads and toe-tapping tunes that will transport you back in time. This concert serves as a celebration of the 83rd anniversary of the historic, art deco terminal building that holds Houston’s rich aviation history. 2 and 6 pm.

“Flutter: The Monarch Butterfly Project” at The Houston Botanic Garden

This collab between The Houston Botanic Garden and Open Dance Project celebrates monarch butterflies and their nearly 3,000-mile southern migration, which passes through Texas each fall. Check out three butterfly installations by local sculptor Meredith Tucker and a series of three half-hour, immersive contemporary dance performances from Open Dance Project. The dance performanace also features interactive costumes by Houston-based artist Natasha Bowdin and an accompanying soundscape by sound artist Lynn Lane, director of Transitory Sound and Movement Collective. Saturday and Sunday, 4-7 pm. $10-$15.

Houston Dynamo FC's Hispanic Heritage Night

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Night and kick it with Houston Dynamo FC when they face off against FC Dallas. Worth the price of admission alone, the first 5,000 fans receive a Luchador mask. Head to Noche Latina Street Fest for the 2023 Cascarita Own Your Block tournament Final. Catch eight Houston teams battle for the ultimate trophy while enjoying the Hustle Town Supporters' annual tailgate party and street soccer. 7:30 pm.

Sunday, October 1


The second annual CITYCENTRE Biergarten will be a blend of beer, camaraderie, and football. Every Sunday in October, guests can enjoy savory bites, cold brewskis, or non-alcoholic drinks in the Plaza by placing to-go orders from CITYCENTRE establishments, including Daily Gather, Bella Green, Yi Peng, Yard House, and more. Guests can also stop by The Moran CITYCENTRE tent in the plaza where they can indulge in a curated assortment of Oktoberfest beer and curated wine selections. 11 am.

J.J. Watt's Ring of Honor ceremony: Houston Texans vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Houston Texans legend J.J. Watt will be the third team member inducted into the Texas' prestigious Ring of Honor. Watt will be on hand doing media appearances and more before kickoff at noon, where he'll serve as Texans Coin Toss Captain — opposite his brother T.J. Watt, the Steelers Coin Toss Captain. Watt will be formally inducted into the Ring of Honor with his family, the McNairs, Andre Johnson, and nearly 90 Texans Legends in attendance for the Legends Homecoming at halftime. Fans can expect free Watt swag, special Watt merch at the team store, and a free Watt pin when they spend $75 or more. Noon (arrive early).

HSPVA Friends presents Kinder HSPVA's MusicFest

Kinder HSPVA's MusicFest has something for music lovers of all ages. Kinder HSPVA's musicians transform the school's downtown block with performances, concerts, recitals, and jam sessions all over campus. Every HSPVA music ensemble will perform, featuring more than 350 performers in over 30 events. There will also be food trucks, including fan-favorite Mr. Sizzles, a pop-up shop by Little Kitchen HTX, frozen treats from Unicorn Snow Cones, and a music scavenger hunt for kids. 12:30 pm.

Houston Grand Opera presents Dance Masterclass & Conversation with Urban Bush Women

Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet will host a special afternoon of dance in honor of the HGO world premiere of Intelligence, featuring members of Urban Bush Women, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s revolutionary modern dance company. An advanced dance masterclass will be led by Zollar - Intelligence co-creator and director/choreographer, as well as MacArthur Foundation and Gish Prize awardee — while another masterclass will be led by Intelligence associate choreographer Vincent Thomas. 1 pm.