GALVESTON, Texas -- Other than getting a chance to sign autographs for some children, the highlight of Wednesday's Astros Caravan for pitcher Kevin Chapman probably came when he sounded the horn on a Coast Guard cutter.
Chapman was smiling from ear to ear while pulling the lever on the bridge of the USCGC Dauntless, which was the first stop on the Caravan's tour around the island. Chapman joined teammate Brad Peacock, former Astros slugger Jimmy Wynn and assistant general manager David Stearns on this leg of the fan-outreach tour.
Even Orbit, the team's mascot, made the most of the trip by running on the beach on a perfect afternoon on the coast.
"Galveston supports the Astros, so it's nice to see the Astros come to Galveston and support us," said Galveston Mayor Lewis Rosen, who helped the Astros raise a flag above the Galveston Island Convention Center. "You couldn't ask for a prettier day than it is today. The roof would be open."
Peacock and Chapman began the day with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Dauntless, which is used for drug-trafficking prevention in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. The vessel has been stationed in Galveston since 1995.
The players and Wynn signed autographs for members of the Coast Guard and fielded questions. One of the men in uniform asked Peacock if the Astros are going to be better this season, and he reassured him they are. They players then signed autographs.
"I couldn't really do something like that if I didn't play baseball," Peacock said. "To see the Coast Guard and get a tour of the boat and see what they do and how they work, that was awesome. I'm excited to do that."
The Caravan then moved along the seawall to the Convention Center, where another Astros flag was raised following a brief ceremony that included words from Stearns and Rosen. From there, it was onto Fish Tales restaurant, where the players and Stearns sat with Sunshine Kids and treated them to lunch.
"I would do this every day if I could," Peacock said. "I met these guys last year during the season and they seem so happy when they see us."
Scott Marshall, vice president and chief operating officer of Landry's restaurants' signature division, was pleased the event was a success.
"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to host the Sunshine Kids and the Houston Astros players at Fish Tales," he said. "We always enjoy participating in events like these where we can be involved with such a great organization."
Chapman was happy to see so many Astros fans come out to say hello to the players along the way.
"It was good to see the community and see we have some Astros fans out there," he said. "It's like any other sports town; the more you win, the more fans you have. I know we have good fans out here, but we just need to start winning some games."