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I have a hard time keeping up with 162 regular season baseball games, but once the postseason hits, it is literally a whole new ballgame. Going to a regular season baseball game is fun, but it is often a laid back type of fun. Going to a big postseason baseball game is a participatory sport where the fans in the stands are an influential element of the game. Home field advantage can be a very real thing and my oldest daughter, parents, and I were honored to stand, scream, yell, cheer, wave our orange towels, and be a part of the home field advantage for the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series right before the World Series.
I was actually able to also buy face value tickets to Game 7 of the World Series when they went on sale, but sadly it was a Game 7 played in Houston, which would have only happened if they played the Cubs instead of the Dodgers. Resell market World Series tickets are well out of my price range, and also out of the price range of most of the Houstonians I know. So, we have all been watching the Astros games on TV, sometimes gathered together at informal watch parties, and sometimes while just snuggled in our own beds as some of the games have gone on past midnight!
Friends and family members who have never watched a full baseball game are having midnight heart attacks right alongside those who watch games all through the regular season. They are asking questions online such as “exactly how many pitchers do teams have?!” and “why do ballplayers spit so much?”. Both valid questions, I might add. My own daughter has learned how many innings are in a game, how many outs are in an inning, and that “knocking it into the Crawford boxes” is a really good thing if an Astro is up to the plate.
If you want to get some guaranteed Facebook likes in Houston right now, just post something along the lines of “Altuve for President!”.
The most unfortunate Gurriel gesture in Game 3 aside, the World Series has been a rallying point for those of us here in Houston. It has been a guaranteed fun conversation piece for friends and strangers alike. We are all tired together the mornings after a long game, fiesty together when we were facing elimination in the ALCS, and all smiles together the morning after a big win. Heck, some local schools where kids normally wear uniforms (like my daughter’s!) are even waiving those uniform requirements if you wear Astros gear.
Houston needed this. Hurricane Harvey also brought us all together, but under very different and stressful circumstances. While the acute crisis phase of that natural disaster has largely passed, many people are still not in their homes after Harvey, and some will never be able to return to their previous lives as their homes were simply destroyed and not in an area where rebuilding is an option due to the threat of future flooding. There was devastation, exhaustion, loss, and heartbreak almost everywhere you turned for weeks and even months. Houston needed something to smile about and celebrate together, and the Astros and their World Series journey have been just the thing we needed.
As I write this, the Astros currently have the World Series lead at 3-2 and need to win at least one of the next two games to be played in Los Angeles to take the title of world champions. Obviously, I hope they do just that, but no matter what happens, these last few weeks have been exactly what you would hope they would have been for those of us who have been judging days of the week by whether or not there is an Astros game.
Heck, even my die-hard Yankees friend, Ed from Pizza in Motion, has even gotten in on the Astros love. Who would have thought you’d see a Yankee in Houston Strong gear? In truth, we made a bet when the Yankees were playing the Astros the round before the World Series that whoever’s team lost would sport the opposing team’s colors during the World Series. When he paid up, he wrote a fun post about being on the losing side of that bet, as well made an awesome fireside chat YouTube video linked below.
I didn’t spend half a million SPG points to throw out the first pitch at Game 7 of the World Series, or even attend any World Series game in person, but my family and the City of Houston has gotten an unquantifiable amount of happiness and enjoyment from this October ride that the Astros have taken us on.
Thanks to Ed for being a good sport, thanks to the Astros for being a team for the record books, and thanks to my fellow Astros fans for making this a fun and very memorable few weeks!
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