BOSTON -- The Astros' first trip to Boston as a member of the American League has extra meaning to slugger Carlos Pena, who spent part of his childhood in Boston and attended Northeastern University, which is just a few blocks from Fenway.
"There's so much history in this park, so many great players and great teams," he said. "This is the oldest stadium in baseball, with maybe Wrigley Field right there also. It's always special. I always pause every time I come here and make sure I know where I'm at and truly appreciate what's going on. I don't ever take something like this for granted. It's very special."
Pena came to countless Red Sox games as a kid and dreamed about playing at Fenway Park. He's a career .248 hitter with 11 homers and 44 RBIs in 64 career games in Boston, where he played for one season in 2006.
"I don't care if I've been here 100 times since then, it's always very special to me and I'm not going to take one day for granted," Pena said.
Pena said he loved to see the team's younger players, such as Jose Altuve, arrive early to the ballpark on Thursday and take a tour.
"As soon as I walked in, I was asking everybody, 'What did you think?'" Pena said. "I was just anticipating of seeing how much they were going to enjoy just being here in Fenway. It's always fun to come back and see old friends and walk around places I'm so familiar with. I went to school just two blocks down the road. It's awesome to get up in the morning and walk around."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.