It took 56 long years, and one magnificent night, to create memories that will last forever in Houston. The Astros are World Series champions!
As the players whooped and hollered and hugged on the field, fans back home heard their message loud and clear. "We did it for our city, our fans," said World Series MVP George Springer.
If anybody stood tall for Houston, it was Springer. He started the series by striking out four times and finished holding the Willie Mays MVP trophy. That's Houston, picking itself up off the mat and shining new again.
Starting pitcher Lance McCullers said, "We wear this patch ["HoustonStrong"] and we wear it proudly."
Jose Altuve, 5-6 and 165 pounds, all heart, became a baseball giant, showing the country who he is — baseball's best hitter, batting champion again, and surely the 2017 American League's Most Valuable Player.
We know the story: Houston went through the wringer this summer with Hurricane Harvey. Much of the city and Astros fans are still reeling from the flood. We rallied around this team of wonderful players and triumphed. If a flood couldn't get Houston down, what chance, really, did the Dodgers have?
Baseball record books will simply record Wednesday night as "Astros 5, Dodgers 1." But this was so much more. Houston baseball fans have waited since this team was born in 1962 as the Colt .45s to raise a World Series banner. The wait is over. We are champions.
Quite simply, this is the greatest sports moment in the history of the city. Nothing comes close. We're talking the World Series — the very words mean the ultimate accomplishment. And they did it with style, taking Game 7.
The two most exciting words in sports — Game 7.
How could you not cheer for Carlos Correa, rubbing the heads of his teammates after a home run, jumping over the dugout rail to celebrate a win, then getting on one knee and proposing marriage after winning the World Series? Yeah, that's a pretty good 24 hours for the shortstop.
Get ready for a party, 2 pm Friday in downtown Houston. And the party won't stop any time soon. These wondrous homegrown players, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Lance McCullers, Marwin Gonzalez, Dallas Keuchel, and others are all coming back next year. Justin Verlander has two more years in Houston.
"I literally love Justin Verlander." — Jose Altuve
"I literally love you, too, Jose Altuve." — Justin Verlander
"We love the whole darn team — all of you." — Millions of Houstonians
Many teams fill the back pages of newspapers with stories of ego and griping and dissent. They challenge their coaches, question their owner, mutter they want out.
Here's how that plays in Houston. When centerfielder George Springer caught the final out of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees, he gave the ball to manager A.J. Hinch.
Dallas Keuchel said, "I owe everything to [pitching coach] Brent Strom. He means the world to me."
Consider this, over the past few weeks, the Astros beat the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers — three legendary baseball franchises — to claim their first World Series title.
This is pure joy for a team, a city, a spirit that could not be denied. Celebrate it.