Spring Training Fan Guide: Astros

Spring Training Fan Guide: Astros

The Astros have been playing in Kissimmee since 1985, and the club heads to the Spring Training home this year intending to end their brief one-year postseason drought. A slew of familiar faces will return for another championship run, including Roy Oswalt, Brad Ausmus, Adam Everett and Brad Lidge.

But a host of new players will begin their Astros tenure this year, too, including Jason Jennings, Woody Williams and Carlos Lee.

As Astros fans prepare for their journey to central Florida, here are some questions and answers that should help make their journey a good one:

When do the Astros arrive at camp?
Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 15 and work out Feb. 16. Position players report Feb. 21, and everyone will work out together for the first time on Feb. 22.

When do games start?
The Astros open on the road this year. They will travel to Winter Haven to play the Cleveland Indians on March 1, beginning at 1:05 p.m. ET. The first home game at Osceola County Stadium will take place on March 2, also at 1:05 p.m. The Astros will host the American League champion Detroit Tigers.

How do I get tickets?
Individual game tickets can be purchased at astros.com, in person or by mail at the Osceola County Stadiums box office (home games only). You can also order by telephone and in person at Florida Ticketmaster outlets (home and road games).

The box office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET and on all game days. Osceola County Stadium ticket prices are $20 for Box Seats and $17 for Reserved Seats.

Credit card purchases can be made by calling Florida Ticketmaster at 407-839-3900. Mail orders for home games can be sent to Osceola County Stadium, 631 Heritage Park Way, Kissimmee, Fla., 34744. Checks should be made to Osceola County Stadium and include $5 postage and handling for each order.

Plenty of good seats are available, although the March 16 game vs. the Yankees is sold out.

Osceola County Stadium holds 5,300 plus several hundred more in standing-room-only capacity.

Ticket prices and other information can be found here, at the Astros Spring Training Tickets page.

The Astros will host three promotional days during the Grapefruit League season. On March 2, the first 5,000 fans will receive Astros caps, sponsored by USSSA. On March 4, the first 2,000 fans will receive Astros visors from Best Western, and on March 22, the first 2,000 fans will receive Astros rally towels from Gallery Furniture.

Where is Kissimmee and how do I get there?
Kissimmee is about 20 minutes from Disney, to the west of Orlando, on Highway 192. The address is 1000 Bill Beck Blvd., on the left heading toward the turnpike.

From the Orlando Airport, take the South exit (to Kissimmee) out of the airport. Merge onto Boggy Creek Road, pass under the #417 - Greenway and continue on Boggy Creek to the next stop light (Circle K store on corner) turn right, this is still Boggy Creek Rd., after you pass the Lakeside Subdivision stay in the right hand lane and go right at the next light (still Boggy Creek), go over the bridge, turn left at the light (Bill Beck Blvd.). Stadium parking lot will be on the right approximately 1/2 mile ahead.

For a complete set of directions, plus a comprehensive list of hotel suggestions, check here.

Also, if you're interested in affordable rental prices for townhomes around the Kissimmee and Orlando areas, two local businesses may be able to help:

Bob Rivera of Global Holdings can be reached at 407-935-0889 or by email at bob@globalholdingsinc.com. Ray Guenther of Gemstone Homes can be reached at 888-501-6365, or by email at ray@gemstonehomes.com.

How can I watch the team work out?
Just show up at the ballpark during the workout dates (Feb. 16-Feb. 28). Admission is free and it's a great time to get an up close view of your favorite players. The Astros practice on three fields in the back of the complex and rotate from field to field. Fans are free to roam the same area.

Workouts usually begin around 9 a.m. local time and last until noon or so.

Where can I get some autographs?
Most players do not sign during the workout hours, but don't be discouraged. Most sign at the end, and at this time of year, they're rested, eager, and not at all tired of signing autographs. Workouts are the best time to get close up pictures and autographs, and it won't cost a dime.

spring training 2006
Get the inside scoop on your favorite team:
Cactus League:
White Sox
Grapefruit League:
Blue Jays
Devil Rays
Red Sox
What else is there to do in Kissimmee?
Considering Kissimee is located next to the Happiest Place on Earth, there's plenty to do. Disney isn't just an amusement park anymore; there's something for everyone, including great nightlife for adults.

For more activities during your Florida vacation, visit the Kissimmee Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site at http://www.floridakiss.com. For general information on Kissimmee, visit the city's Web site: http://www.kissimmee.org.

In terms of dining, there's no better place than La Forchetta, located a couple of miles from the Osceola County Stadium complex at 321 S. John Young Parkway. Over the last 20 years or so, it's been the Astros' home away from home, and on most game days, you'll find someone from the organization enjoying the home cooking of owner Vince and Maria Manzi. Get there early -- the restaurant has only about 15 tables, and during Spring Training, it fills up quickly.

When do the Astros open the regular season?
The Astros host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, April 2, at 6:05 p.m. CT at Minute Maid Park. They'll be home for seven days in an opening homestand that concludes with a three-game weekend set with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.