Around the State
April—People, Places, Events, Attractions
It has been ten years since my daughter SELENA was killed, and my family and I decided that we should organize a concert to remember her life and her music. Shortly after she died, I promised to keep her music alive as much as I could. So for the concert, we decided to invite many artists to sing Selena’s songs, to pay tribute to her. Artists like Gloria Estefan, Thalía, Pepe Aguilar, A. B. Quintanilla III y Los Kumbia Kings, Alicia Villarreal, and [Selena’s former band] Los Dinos—it’ll be the first time they’ve played together since she died—will do renditions of her songs. Knowing Selena’s personality, I know she would be excited about this. She probably wouldn’t believe it was all in her honor. She didn’t see herself as a star; she was a very down-to-earth person. I remember how every time we would go to play at a concert, she’d be sitting in the bus beforehand, worried, asking, “Is anyone going to come?” And it was always packed. A lot of people loved Selena. She touched so many hearts. [The tenth-anniversary tribute concert to the late queen of tejano will be held at Reliant Stadium, in Houston. ABRAHAM QUINTANILLA
(For directions and more information, see Selena ¡Vive!—Houston, Music/Dance)
COMING ATTRACTIONS | The month in baseball.
Roger Clemens has a lot of reasons to go to work every day—18 million, to be precise—but this season he’s outlined two in particular: to win a first World Series for the Houston Astros and, just as lofty, to steal a base. Can he pull them off? Texas Longhorns coach Augie Garrido, who recently recorded his 1,500th career win (“A spiritual experience,” he says. “Like Jesus at the Last Supper”) and is known nationwide as a great baseball teacher, assesses Clemens’s odds.
So, can he win the World Series? No. It’s a team sport. Roger can provide leadership, but he has lots of help—Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Andy Pettitte. Every Astro is committed to making it happen.
Is he worth the money then? Yes, as a matter of fact. When you see all that he does and figure that no one else can do it, he is worth it. And when you put a dollar amount like that in entertainment-world terms, he’s pretty inexpensive compared to movie stars. You might even say he’s underpaid.
Any advice for Roger on stealing a base? Practice sliding, because the net result of that slide when he steals the base could be serious! [The Astros open with a two-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 5.] KATHARYN RODEMANN
(For directions and more information, see Houston, Sports)
What to see and who to watch in April.
April 1: Houston Astros at Round Rock Express . . . 4: Baseball in the Lone Star State: The Texas League’s Greatest Hits, by Texas League president Tom Kayser and David King, hits stores this week (Trinity University Press, $19.95) . . . 5 & 6: Astros vs. St. Louis Cardinals . . . 7: First-ever Triple-A game at Dell Diamond: Express vs. Omaha Royals . . . 7—10: San Antonio Missions welcome new rivals Corpus Christi Hooks; Midland Rockhounds host Frisco RoughRiders . . . 8: Moody High—2004’s Texas 5-A baseball champion—and pitcher Luis Flores vs. Miller High . . . 10: First Missions broadcast in Spanish since 2002 (KZDC 1250 AM, 4:05 p.m.) . . . 12—14: Assess Texas Rangers pitching in their opening series against the Angels (L.A. or Anaheim, flip a coin) . . . 16: The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History opens “Rounding the Bases: Baseball in Corpus Christi” . . . 18: Denton Ryan High vs. Southlake Carroll High: Watch outfielder Austin Jackson and shortstop Aaron Luna . . . 19: Baylor Bears visit the TCU Horned Frogs: Witness Mark McCormick’s 100-mile-per-hour fastball . . . 20: Rice Owls vs. Texas Longhorns . . . 23 & 24: Fort Worth Cats’ Big Chance Tournament . . . 29 & 30: Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox.
[SMALL BALL ]
Hot tub seating, Friday fireworks, heroes close enough to touch, and mascots slow enough to tackle: Starting this month, minor league baseball in Texas promises more excitement than ever. The Round Rock Express moves closer to the majors as the Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate with an all-new cast of players. Last year’s Express players—still under co-owner Nolan Ryan’s eye—reappear in Corpus Christi as theDouble-A Hooks and take on the Texas League at their gleaming new Whataburger Field (swimming pool included). And the El Paso Diablos, after 32 years of major league affiliation, head to the independent Central League. What to make of all the action? We collared the Express’ Spike for an insider’s perspective.
The Express goes Triple-A. What’ll be different? My son, Little Spike—he’s nine feet tall—is now going to be a mascot. We’ll see a lot more teams and big-league players coming through, and we’ll also be playing across the country. Very exciting.
What’s so great about minor league ball?
The mascots. And the family atmosphere. Everyone can get up close with me and the players.
Do you get lots of dates?
I once got chased all over the ballpark by a cotton candy vendor.
Does Nolan Ryan do the chicken dance?
He’s not much of a chicken dancer. He comes and helps develop the young pitchers. He likes me to say hello during a game, though; he’s my fan. I’m working on him on the dancing, but he’s bigger than me, so I don’t know. K.R.
HEY, YOU! | Look who’s coming to Texas.
The best-selling author of The Corrections will be at the Inprint Brown Reading Series, in Houston, on April 11. Interview By Jordan Breal
What are you reading these days?
I have a preposterously high standard for fiction, so let’s see . . . Recently I’ve liked The Radetzky March, by Joseph Roth. It was written in the thirties. You’ve probably whistled the Radetzky March without realizing what it was. And Alice Munro’s Runaway—I wrote a rave review about it. She doesn’t get the attention she deserves.
The essays you’ve written for the New Yorker are personally raw. Which is harder to write, fiction or nonfiction?
Fiction is always harder to write. You read more good nonfiction. Fiction versus nonfiction is an intensely complicated problem. I’m embarking on a nonfiction piece using material that I’ve been thinking about for fiction for about ten years. I finally realized, “Ten years—still haven’t used it. I’ll just do it as an essay.” Generally I try to save stuff for fiction, but when you get too worried about hoarding material, it means you’re in a bad place. Annie Dillard said spend, spend, spend.
So can we expect another novel soon?
I gave an estimate for completion as 2017 some months ago and then revised it to 2023. The gossip letters in New York published that, and people actually took me seriously. Maybe I should revise it to 2027! Internally, I feel pressure to hurry, but I think it’s important to resist that.
You’ve spoken out against the declining role of fiction in society.
I do so arguably out of pure self-interest. I decided when I was nineteen to be a fiction writer, so when you see the pursuit you’ve chosen devalued, it’s in your interest to try and shore it up. I guess I’m offended by the notion that reading is something that, like a distasteful vegetable, we have to be tricked into eating more of.
Do you get to Texas often?
I’m working on a piece about birdwatching, and of course, Texas in the winter and spring is a premier place, so I’ve been making trips to the state. After my reading in Houston, I’m hoping to slip away to the coast and maybe see some migrating birds.
(For directions and more information, see Houston, Other Events)