When Astros manager A.J. Hinch took to the postgame podium and declared Houston as a “championship city” after the team’s 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series, it was surreal.
For so many years, Astros fans saw their regular seasons end in disappointment or their playoff runs end in heartbreak. So, after taking a 5-0 lead through the first two innings in Wednesday’s do-or-die seventh game of the World Series, fans sat on pins and needles for seven more innings hoping beyond hope that the other shoe would not drop this time.
But something amazing happened — that shoe never dropped, the heartbreak never happened.
Inning by inning, the Dodgers got players on base, threatening to disappear the Astros’ lead. Instead of faltering as Astros fans have seen so many times, the Dodgers ended up stranding 10 total base runners in the game.
Usually it’s the team opposite the Astros that comes up with the clutch moments when they count most, but the script was finally flipped and the Astros won their first World Series in 56 years of existence as a franchise.
Out of the major professional sports, it’s only the third for the city of Houston and first since the Houston Rockets’ NBA Finals win in 1995. And with all due respect to the Rockets’ championships in 1994 and 1995, the Astros’ World Series win is now the greatest moment in Houston sports history.
First and foremost, there’s the fact that this team has now brought so much joy at a time when the Houston area needed it dearly, following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
Then, factor in that this particular World Series will go down as one of the greatest of all time, and that the Astros won this epic Fall Classic against the team with the best record in baseball.
Throughout the postseason, just when fans thought some moments — the Astros come-from-behind ALDS clinching win over the Red Sox, the exciting first two games of the ALCS, the combined pitching gem in the seventh game of the ALCS, the incredible Game 2 of the World Series and the somehow even more incredible Game 5 of the World Series — were as good as it gets, they got even better.
And for Astros fans, no moment was better than seeing Jose Altuve scoop up that last ground ball with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday, and toss it into the glove of Yuli Gurriel to wrap up the World Series win.
Houston, we have a championship.