Editor’s note: I’ve read a few 2013 previews, but I wanted to do something a little different. I wanted to write a newspaper article for a date that is less than five years away. After the last few months, I just wanted to write something positive. I really feel like good news is on the horizon. The Astros are getting better. The rain is over.
The Astros are turning this around.
I hope you guys enjoy this.
Dedicated to Mike Fast
31 Oct 2017
A Space City Celebration: The Crawford Street Kids Clinch Series in Six!
Cascades of orange and navy blue confetti fell from the Minute Maid Park rafters, deafening music blared from the public address system and all of downtown Houston collectively and gleefully roared as closer, Joe Musgrove, struck out Jeff Kobernus to put the finishing touches on a game six shutout win. A colossal “Houston: You Have A Championship” banged, blinked and bounced in shades of Astros orange and blue on the video board. Jason Castro darted to the mound to collect his pitcher as the rest of the team crashed into them from the field, dugout and bullpen in a celebratory assemblage of youthful jubilation.
2017 was a year of triumph for the Houston Astros as they claimed their first World Series Championship in franchise history. In only their second playoff appearance as a member of the American League, Houston defeated the Washington Nationals in six games on Monday to clinch the series.
At 101 wins in 2017, this is the second time in franchise history that the Houston Astros have won over 100 games, and this was their first World Series appearance since being the National League representative 12 years ago.
After dethroning Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels for the American League pennant, the Astros and Nationals split the first four games of the 2017 Fall Classic. However, after the Astros decisive 11-3 game five victory in our nation’s capital, momentum swung in the good guys’ favor as they travelled home for game six.
Jordan Lyles and a few timely hits brought the series to a close and sent the Astros into the history books.
“This is probably the greatest day of my life. Seriously. All of the hard work and preparation finally paid off. I know realignment was unpopular and I took some heat. But National League or American League? It doesn’t matter. We had to beat everyone, and we did!” stated Jim Crane at the postgame press conference. Crane purchased the team in 2011 and, along with general manager, Jeff Luhnow, ushered in a new philosophy in regards to building a baseball team.
A champagne-soaked Luhnow was seen in the locker room celebrating with his team, “People say it has to do with sabermetrics, but, I gotta say, it is simple math. You add 25 hard-working guys, add them all in one uniform and multiply by one goal and that equals a World Series win for Houston!”
Jonathan Singleton, who was given a long-term contract in April and has become “Homerton” to the Houston faithful, was awarded the World Series MVP after pulverizing Nationals pitching to the tune of three homeruns and eleven RBI in what many are calling “one of the best postseasons of all time.” Singleton hopped over the railing along the first base line and celebrated the victory with the fans. Soaked with soda and covered in popcorn, Singleton yelled, “Thank you! Thank you for sticking with us! I love you all!”
“I feel like I’m 6 feet tall,” joked Jose Altuve, who won a batting title in the last game of the regular season. “Okay, maybe five nine.”
“I was on the team when they lost 106 games, and I was on the team that lost 107 games, I was just a kid. But, now, I am on the team that won the World Series! Thank God I’m an Astro!” said a visibly emotional Jordan Lyles.
Lyles, who went 8 innings while giving up 5 hits and striking out 4, came out hot as he struck out the first batter of the game and gave up two weak groundballs to the left side to retire the side. “I was nervous. There’s no hiding that. But that first guy really set the tone for me. I felt like this was destiny.” The only real trouble Lyles got into was a double from NL MVP shoe-in Bryce Harper to lead off the 6th inning. Roger Clemens came out to talk to him, and Lyles proceeded to retire the next two batters and then was the beneficiary of a highlight reel Matt Dominguez snag and throw that closed out the inning.
“No, I wasn’t concerned Bo was gonna pull him. Lyles is a tough guy, a veteran and he knows how to get himself out of trouble. He did it again tonight. How about that pick by Matt D?” said Clemens.
“Roger has been a blessing to this organization ever since he retired from playing in 2013,” Luhnow chimed in, “not too many guys have his knowledge or expertise when it comes to pitching.”
The Astros got on the board quick in the first inning when leftfielder, DeLino DeSheilds Jr., beat out an infield single and stole second. He advanced to third on a groundout by Jose Altuve and was knocked in on a George Springer double.
“I just closed my eyes and swung the bat. Things happen, I guess. Baseballs end up in the gap, and folks end up getting World Series rings,” laughed Springer.
Singleton contributed in a big way in the fourth inning when he hit a no doubter 430 feet solo shot over the centerfield fence. Clang! The ball scuffed the flagpole, which stands about 30 feet beyond the centerfield fence. The crowd roared as Singleton rounded the bases and the giant Minute Maid space shuttle soared its way along the stadium wall. “The grand slam in game five felt great, but this one is indescribable.”
“The way Lyles was pitching, I knew that Jon’s homerun was enough to win the game,” said team captain, Jason Castro.
The bottom of the 6th inning started with a little controversy as Domingo Santana smoked a fastball into left field. The replay clearly showed that the leftfielder, Brian Goodwin, had trapped the ball on one hop, but the outfield umpire, Allen Selig III, declared it a clean catch and Santana was retired. From the dugout, a fiery Porter shot out like a cannon to argue the call and was in danger to get ejected, but cooler heads prevailed, and Porter made it back to safety of his perch without having to hand the reins to bench coach, Lance Berkman.
The Astros got on the board again when Carlos Correa started out the 8th inning with a single and Nolan Fontana moved Correa into scoring position when he took his base after Lucas Giolito couldn’t convert on a full count. Brett Wallace came in to pinch hit for Jason Castro and took a Giolito curveball down the rightfield line and scored Correa and Fontana.
“That Giolito kid is good. He cleaned our clocks in game two. He just didn’t have his stuff tonight,” Porter said of the Nationals rookie. “But this night is about the Houston Astros.”
Lyles came out in the top of the 9th, but quickly gave up a single to Anthony Rendon and was pulled by Porter. “He had triple digits, and he looked tired. His arm must have felt like one of Wally’s legs. I wanted to let him finish it, and I know the kid wanted to stay out there. But I knew Joe could end this. Jordan’s a competitor. Jordan Lyles is a fighter.”
Joe Musgrove, who was just recently converted into the Astros closer, quickly dispatched the next three batters and pandemonium ensued. “I was a starter in San Antonio last year, wondering if I’d ever make it out of AAA. I never imagined that’d I’d be shutting the door and wrapping up a World Series for the Astros. This is awesome!”
“Musgrove has been outstanding. We knew we were getting something when we traded for him in 2012. We just had to be patient. And we were. It has paid off,” Luhnow said after the game.
Hall of Famers, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, who threw out ceremonial first pitches in game one, were in attendance. “You know, at times, I wondered if I would ever live to see the day. Things were bad,” Biggio clichéd, “This team has come a long way – it – it’s just amazing. This was a complete team effort. They played hard, and they just did the best they could. They left it all out on the field. They let the chips fall where they may. They didn’t take any wooden nickels. They took it one day at a time.”
“I’m so happy for Jimmy and Jeffy,” Bagwell said, “the guys who have been here, Jordy, Matty, Bretty, Rhinery and Jose-y, these guys went through hell. Bidgey, Brad-y, Lance-y and me, we’re all proud.”
Earlier last week, Major League Baseball announced that Oklahoma City and Anaheim were being awarded expansion franchises, when asked about it at the press conference, Jim Crane got a few chuckles and groans from the media when he said, “Who knows, maybe in a few years, we’ll win the World Series as the National League representatives. Let’s just celebrate as the American League representatives tonight!”
Houston Mayor Andre Johnson declared November 2nd as Houston Astros Day and a downtown parade is scheduled at noon on Wednesday.