HOUSTON — Astros reliever Joe Musgrove had designed a pair of cleats for charity. His idea was to wear the white shoes in a game and then hopefully auction them off for a good cause.
And the cleats should fetch a fair price — even if they are covered with children’s signatures and doodle drawings.
Musgrove brought the shoes Friday to the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston and let the kids there go at it. The center has served as a shelter for thousands left homeless by Hurricane Harvey.
“Let them do whatever they wanted, scribbled on them like some kids did or draw. Turned out pretty good,” Musgrove who planned to wear the shoes during the weekend series with the Mets, said Saturday. “And then maybe auction them off. Maybe give to a group for their rebuilding or something. I haven’t really decided what to do with them yet.”
Musgrove was part of a contingent of Astros who went to the center Friday, one day before returning to baseball in what they hoped was an act that could return some normalcy to a region devastated by nature.
“Yes, it’s a baseball game and you see what’s going on but it’s a chance to get people excited, get them happy,” outfielder Jake Marisnick said.
“We’re here to hopefully provide relief, distraction, anything possible for the city,” George Springer said. “For us as athletes, it’s hard for us to understand what people went through. We weren’t here. But it’s our job to do anything we can to help. If going out, playing hard and giving somebody a three-hour break from reality, I’m happy to do it.
“When you see them with a trash bag carrying all they have left, it’s sad.”
The Astros are populated with several players with New York connections. Tyler Clippard pitched for both the Mets and Yankees while Carlos Beltran also played for both. Brian McCann was a Yankees catcher. All agreed playing was right.
“We hope it can give people a little bit of a distraction,” Clippard said. “That’s kind of why we’re here. There was so much devastation in the area and baseball is such a secondary thing to what actually happens. We’re entertainers in the truest sense of the word today.”
“We just hope whatever we’re doing right now in Houston is bringing something positive to the city,” Beltran said. “We just want to bring some joy.”
Said McCann: “We’re glad to be back and glad to be playing at home. It feels right to be back here. It feels right to be playing. Went to the convention center and you see kids running around who lost their homes. It’s been a devastating week so to be able to come back here, we’re excited.”