San Jac Certified: Alum riding high on Astros Home Run Train
04.01.2016 | By Lynsi Crawford, San Jacinto Times Department Editor
Houston baseball fans know the train at Minute Maid Park takes a celebratory ride above left field when an Astros’ batter hits a home run. They also know the train’s conductor occasionally breaks out into a signature dance. What most fans do not know is the overalls-clad conductor is Bobby “Dynamite” Vasquez, a seasoned journalist and a San Jacinto College alumnus who started his journey to Minute Maid in the late 1990s while a student on the Central campus covering sports.
“I was a communications major at SJC and was the Editor-in-Chief of the (San Jacinto) Times from 1998-99,” Vasquez says. “I started as a reporter and then was promoted to Assistant Sports Editor. I later became the Sports Editor.”
He is also the founder, editor, and publisher of InsideDP.com, a community website serving Deer Park. During college, his involvement in sports news led to an internship with the Astros in 2000, and he eventually landed the role of the iconic engineer when the original train driver vacated the position fifteen years ago.
“Before the 2001 season started, he took a promotion within the organization, and the team needed someone else to drive the train,” Vasquez says. “I was in the right place at the right time.”
Once Vasquez took the gig he assumed the name Bobby Dynamite, a nod to the movie “Napoleon Dynamite” that featured the lead character’s famous dance sequence to “Canned Heat.” The film inspired some of Vasquez’s dance moves often showcased on the large stadium monitor at home games.
“Between innings one game, the music played throughout the ballpark, and I was on the big screen doing the dance,” he says. “The crowd loved it. Our department created some graphics to go with the routine, and they called it Bobby Dynamite, which is what the fans call me now.”
While cultivating ‘Bobby Dynamite,’ Vasquez also worked as a reporter at a local community weekly newspaper for several years until he was promoted to editor. He left the newspaper industry and became the senior editor of a luxury magazine from 2007-2008, before moving to a job in public affairs. But his time with the City of Houston was short-lived; he was laid off in 2009. However, he quickly seized another opportunity when he joined a group of investors to establish InsideDP.com.
In addition to his busy career, Vasquez also enjoys traveling, playing disc golf, CrossFitting, and the occasional rock climb. Regardless of his other pursuits, Vasquez says he believes his work with the Astros is the best gig in sports entertainment.
“No one in major league baseball gets to do what I do,” he says. “Bobby Dynamite is my personality cranked to 11. A lot of other teams have some kind of cuddly mascot who wears a mask. I don’t wear a mask. What fans see is my raw emotion.”
Photos courtesy of: Houston Astros Baseball Club/Deer Park Photos