Friday, June 2, 2023 3:34 AM
Houston, Texas (KTRK) – If you’ve spent any time in an Astros game or an Astros championship parade, you’re probably well aware that Jeremy Peña is a superstar. Our community is all about talented young shortstop. ABC13 has learned that Peña is all about community, too.
Prior to Friday’s home game against the Los Angeles Angels, Peña will host the fifth “Peña’s Pals” for the 2023 season. “Peña’s Pals” is a new program developed by Shortstop in partnership with the Astros Foundation. Five of Peña’s friends are treated to a ballpark night with VIP access. The selected group – from a school or organization – is rewarded based on grades, personality, growth, and strength. Character and strength will certainly be on display this Friday at Minute Maid Park.
Three of Peña’s five friends will survive from Room 112 of Rupp Primary School in Uvalde. Rooms 111 and 112 are where 19 students and two teachers died last May.
“In life, we always have real champions,” Peña, the 2022 World Series MVP, told ABC13 on Thursday. “What we’re doing is small compared to what others have gone through. I look forward to meeting them (Friday) – as I hope to meet them.”
Friday’s “Peña’s Pals” event is the latest swing by the Astros and their organization to help heal a Uvalde community that has been forever shaken by what happened one year ago inside Robb Elementary.
ABC13 was with the Stros in Uvalde last summer when they took a trip to bring baseball and smiles to the grieving city. They’ve partnered with the Uvalde Little League — making it the only organization outside of the greater Houston area that receives consistent, direct assistance from the Astros foundation, says Paula Harris, executive director of the Astros Foundation.
“When you see someone who’s been through that kind of devastation and is still standing, living — making it — hard,” Harris told ABC13 on Thursday. “We just want to keep hugging Uvaldi.”
“Some people have to fight tough battles,” Peña added. “What we’re doing is playing sports, and hopefully we can impact lives while doing that. I’m looking forward to (Friday).”
Besides Robb’s three elementary school survivors, two other Peña Pals Fridays are players from the Astros’ youth academy – part of the team that traveled to Uvalde earlier this year for the Uvalde Little League’s Opening Day.
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