Sports

The Joy of a Devastated City

      To understand the true significance of the city of Houston Texas’s first World Series championship, you would first have to understand that a story you would never imagine had taken place. First of all, when the professional baseball team called the Astros lost a franchise record 111 games in 2014, an article out of the Sports Illustrated front cover had predicted them to win the World Series three years later, in 2017. As a team just trying to fit into the American League where they moved to in 2013, the Astros struggled to get a winning team together to make a playoff run. A slew of ownership, management, and coaching changes, along with well thought out draft choices and trades had put Houston back on the radar.

       In 2015, they made their first playoff appearance as a member of the American League, where they lost to the Kansas City Royals in the division series, who would go on and win that year’s World Series. The following year for the Astros was a step back, where they missed the playoffs altogether even though they had a winning record (over .500). That was a sign of things to come as the 2017 season got underway. In April and May, they started out like the division contenders that they were called to be — winning 38 games and losing only 16 games during those two months. June and July featured more of the same, winning 31 games and losing 20. August was a not so great month for the Astros, and for the city in general, highlighted by the greatest natural disaster to strike the Houston area.

       Hurricane Harvey dumped 50 inches of rain and caused the city to go underwater. With all the devastation and heartbreak, the Astros compiled a 11-17 mark for the month with most of the losses before the hurricane struck. That was when the Astros came together and dedicated the rest of their season to the city recovering from the magnitude of such a natural disaster as Hurricane Harvey. Down the stretch toward the playoffs, it was clear to everyone that the Astros were not to be denied a playoff spot. They went 21-8 in the final month, while keeping the town that they play for embedded in their hearts. The Astros finished the season 101-61, the best record in franchise history.

      First stop in the playoff road was Boston, where in four games they eliminated the Red Sox and set a League championship series date with the Yankees. Despite facing a wild card team, the Yankees were not going to make things easy for the Astros, who took them to the limit to decide the American League Pennant. The Astros got the final blow, earning their first world series trip in twelve years, back when they were part of the National League. Their opponent in the World Series was baseball’s best team in terms of record in 2017, the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a well competitive series as the Astros and Dodgers went to the limit of seven games to decide the winner. In the seventh and final game, the motto that the Astros made since the Hurricane called “Houston Strong” came to life, scoring early and often to get a five run advantage heading into the later innings. Although the final run scored belonged to Los Angeles, the 2017 World Series belonged to the Houston Astros. For the first time in the 55 year history of the team, the people of Houston can proudly say those three magic words, “World Champion Astros!”

      Sources: MLB.com, ESPN.com, Weather.com

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