HOUSTON -- Lucas Luetge grew up about two hours from Minute Maid Park and attended college in Houston, but the reliever's experience in the park was limited to one inning in a game while playing for Rice University in a tournament, until he made the trip with the Mariners for this weekend's series.
"That wasn't really playing here," he said of his brief college experience. "This is the real thing. I always told myself I'd play here one day. This is the place I grew up watching baseball, whether it was here or the Astrodome. So it's kind of where your dreams start.
"You can watch on TV, but until you're there in person you feel like, 'Oh man, I want to play on that field.' It really is a dream come true. Playing in any stadium is exciting, but I'm really excited about this one."
Luetge said he attended numerous Astros games while in college, though when he grew up in Industry, Texas, he wasn't strictly devoted to that club.
"I was a fan of lots of teams. My bedroom wasn't filled with Astros stuff or anything, but this was the closest stadium and we supported them," he said.
Luetge said he bought about 35 tickets for friends and family for Friday's game.