By Ben Ramirez
At long last, Houston has a World Series championship. The Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven game home run derby series marked by generally subpar pitching, baseball bats with seemingly six inch diameter barrels, and suspiciously slick baseballs.
It feels like a decade ago when Ben Reiter boldly predicted in the June 2014 Sports Illustrated that the Astros would win the 2017 World Series. At the time, the Astros were amongst the worst teams in baseball and were slowly rebuilding through the draft and acquired prospects.
Three years later, the Astros are a bonafide super team, the model of the bottom up sabermetrics movement in Major League Baseball that is stepping away from traditional scouting and focusing on analytic data. In a four year span, they went from losing over 100 games to winning over 100 games and beating one of the best teams on paper in a very long time to win the World Series.
At just five feet six inches tall, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve led the league in batting average and hits, and will be the presumptive American League Most Valuable Player. He also crushed Dodger pitching in the World Series. Their young guns Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and George Springer delivered in clutch situations. Their pitching was better than the Dodgers’.
As a Dodger fan, this series was emotionally draining and frustrating, but Houston needed the ensuing euphoria much more than Los Angeles. After Hurricane Harvey decimated their city, there was not much for Houstonians to be hopeful for. However, the Astros gave the city something to be happy about.
Since their return to Minute Maid Park in the wake of Harvey, the Astros have had a patch on their jerseys and a large banner hanging above the center field batter’s eye reading “Houston Strong.” Now, as baseball fans watch the team parade through their recovering city amidst a sea of blue and orange, we are all Houston strong.
While many fans remember the 2016 World Series as being one of the best, the 2017 World Series blew it out of the water. This will undoubtedly go down as one of the craziest, most emotionally draining, record breaking, and amazing series in baseball history and the Astros and the city of Houston earned every inning of it.