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REGARDLESS of George Bush's "bounce" in the...


REGARDLESS of George Bush's "bounce" in the polls after this week's Republican National Convention, one group is surely going to cheer loudly as he charges out of Houston to take on Bill Clinton in this year's presidential campaign. They are the long-neglected tenants of the city's Astrodome, the baseball players of the Houston Astros.

Because of Mr. Bush's desire to hold this year's GOP convention in Texas, his legal state of residence (a rented hotel room near downtown Houston), the Astros have had to embark on an extended road trip. Only this hardly qualifies as a leisurely week away from home and family. This is a backbreaking, month-long journey to the far corners of this country, north and south, east and west.

It all began July 27, when the Astros vacated their stadium so Houstonians could have enough time to convert the Astrodome into a haven for Republican conventioneers. Three days in Atlanta were followed by four days in Cincinnati, two days in Los Angeles, four days in San Diego and three days in San Francisco.

Then it was back on the plane for four days in Chicago. Today, it's baseball in St. Louis for the jet-lagged Astros. The weekend sees the ballplayers hitting the East Coast briefly for three games in Philadelphia before returning (finally) to Houston for their next home game on Aug. 25. We hope they remember their way around the place.

Eight cities, 28 days, 26 games, five time zones and 9,000 miles on the frequent-flyer tab.

It's almost enough to convince the players to register, en masse, as Democrats.

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