HOUSTON -- Astros bench coach Dave Trembley was taken aback by his experience Thursday night watching a high school baseball playoff game between Shepherd High School and Silsbee High School in Jasper, Texas.
Trembley joined manager Bo Porter and executive advisor Nolan Ryan in driving to the piney woods of East Texas to see hard-throwing high school right-hander Tyler Kolek of Shepherd, who the Astros are considering with the No. 1 overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft.
"It was a lot of fun," Trembley said. "It takes you back to high school. I tell you what, people in that town, they had a good time. It was like 'Friday Night Lights.'"
Of course, having a Hall of Fame pitcher and a Texas legend in Ryan coming to your town is a big deal, but Trembley was impressed with how all the players and fans handled themselves when the spotlight was on their community.
"I went back to my room last night and felt so reassured that there's such a large part of this country that's in good hands with young people after what I saw last night and the way we were treated," Trembley said. "It was small-town America, probably with the nicest young people I've ever been around -- the parents, the teachers, the people.
"I saw more young kids in baseball uniforms with gloves and balls and fingers up against the fence and watching the game, watching a high school playoff game like it was Game 7 of the World Series. So many people came up to us after and said, 'You don't know how much this means to us, that Nolan, Bo Porter and you guys would come here.' It will make you cry how nice people are."
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.