It's been a fun offseason in Houston. The Astros' front office has signaled that the team is ready to compete with acquisitions of Evan Gattis, Jed Lowrie, Luis Valbuena and Colby Rasmus to the lineup while Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek will shore up the bullpen.
Add in the young talent the Astros already possess, and some baseball pundits are expecting surprising things from the Astros. ESPN's David Schoenfield flat out declared Houston will be the surprise team of 2015, and Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com filed Houston under "sleeper" status.
While the hardcore baseball fan knows Houston is moving in the right direction, the casual fan may still be stuck in #LOLastros mode when thinking about Houston. Admittedly, sometimes the Astros just do it to themselves, but it's time that Houston starts to create a little hype about what could be a magical year.
Of course, the Astros could just produce some excitement by just having a winning record in April - a feat they haven't accomplished since 2006. Evan Gattis and Chris Carter could hit monster home runs. Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh could shut opponents down. George Springer and Jose Altuve just being themselves is super fun.
How can the Astros get the word out? The people of America need to know about this fantastic baseball team. Houston has a fantastic social media department, but that can only carry the word so far.
Houston needs an ambassador. Houston needs a hype man.
Houston needs Drake.
Also known by his real name Aubrey Graham, Drake is on top of the rap/hip-hop world. His recent release of the mixtape If You're Reading This It's Too Late has been critically acclaimed, and only cemented his stranglehold on the rap game.
This process began last season when Drake stopped by Minute Maid Park for a game on June 12, 2014. It was a memorable night to say the least. Drake posed for pictures with members of the Astros and kids from the Astros Urban Youth Academy and RBI program. The night ended with Chris Carter hitting a walkoff home run to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks. Carter hit 25 dingers in 87 games after meeting Drizzy.
Drake's affection to Houston is tied directly to his already historic rap career. It's the first city he sold a show out in, and Houston is where he first met Lil' Wayne, who subsequently thrust Drake into the spotlight. In Alyson Footer's piece on Drake's day at MMP, Drake details having to wait eight hours before meeting Wayne. They met, Drake stayed in Houston for two weeks to record a mixtape, and the rest is history.
Drizzy detailed the meeting in "Look What You've Done" off his album Take Care.
Then Wayne calls on my phone, conversation wasn't that long
Gets me a flight to Houston in the morning
Oh it's my time, yeah, it's on
He's thinking of signing me, I come home
We make a mixtape with seventeen songs
I almost get a Grammy off of that thing
They love your son man that boy gone
Houston clearly holds a special place in Drake's heart, but it's not his home. Graham is originally from Toronto, where he starred in the Canadian teenage drama Degrassi. Drake, despite some flip-flopping, has made his basketball allegiances known - the Toronto Raptors in the NBA, and the Kentucky Wildcats in college. He doesn't really have an NFL team, just Johnny Manziel. His soccer favorites have been all over the place. Hockey-wise, he seems to be on the Toronto Maple Leafs train. There's probably a Toronto law against not supporting the Leafs.
But there isn't much of a baseball history for Drake. He did collaborate with the Blue Jays on a hat, and also filmed part of his "Headlines" video inside the Rodgers Centre. But the last time Graham was seen at a baseball game, it was in Houston.
And here's the kicker. In November of 2013, Drake took to Instagram to show off his newest tattoo.
Damn right that's the Astros logo on his shoulder. The Astros are always with Drake.
George Bush is famous. The scene with Jason Lane clubbing a home run in Boyhood was cool.
But that doesn't match up with a superstar like Drake. This can be your team, Drizzy. Come sit behind home plate or have a luxury box with the rest of your OVO crew. Maybe you can even take batting practice if you aren't afraid to embarrass your athletic ability again.
Baseball and rap have never really gone hand in hand much. If there's anyone who could make the two come together, it's Drake. This is the time to buy in. The Astros are on the rise, and you're hotter than any rapper at the moment. Let's make this partnership happen, Drizzy.