Astros advance to World Series, foster city pride

Sinclair Mott, Staff Writer

Students have been sporting Astros gear at school, staying up late to watch games, and even getting tickets to games at Minute Maid Park in support of their team. On Oct. 21, the Astros won the seventh game of the American League Championship Series, earning themselves a spot in the World Series for the first time since 2005. For many devoted Astros fans, this victory has been a long time coming.

“I’ve watched Astros games with my mom since the time when Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio were really big,” junior Josephine Dodd said.

In recent years, manager A.J. Hinch has built up the team with young talent in players such as Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. This season the team acquired veteran players like catcher Brian McCann and designated hitter Carlos Beltrán, providing some much-needed experience.

This year, the Astros were the first team in the MLB to 50 wins, a big accomplishment for a franchise that set a new record for most losses for four straight years.

“In earlier years we were the underdogs,” Dodd said. “In 2013, we lost over 100 games, and this year we won over 100 games. It is just crazy to see how the team has grown.”

Playing at Minute Maid Park, the Astros jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the New York Yankees in the ALCS, then lost three straight games in the Bronx, leading many fans to doubt the team.

Marty Thompson, Director of Experiential Education, moved to Houston in 1980, the year the Astros lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series.

“Collectively, it was almost a relief that the Astros were winning,” Thompson said. “Everyone who has been a long-time fan can replay the moments where it didn’t go right and we didn’t win.”

Marty Thompson
Director of Experiential Education Marty Thompson and Andrew Sobotka (’11) watch Game 3 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium.

In the final game against the Yankees, with the teams tied 3-3 in the series, Charlie Morton took the mound. Spectators noticed that the energy level in Minute Maid Park was contagious.

“The upper deck was singing Charlie Morton’s name,” Thompson said. “Charlie Morton is an afterthought for many fans, and to hear the praise coming from the stadium was unreal.”

The Astros went on to win Game 7 with a score of 4-0, securing the team’s spot in the World Series.

“Making it to the World Series is a big deal for Houston, and it gives our city a lot to be proud of,” sophomore Pranav Konduri said.

The Astros have not made it to the World Series since 2005, so fans were happy to see their fortunes change.

“I flipped out when I found out the Astros advanced to the World Series,” Dodd said. “It shows how much work our team has put in this season, and we deserve this win.”

Following Hurricane Harvey, many Houstonians looked to the Astros as a team they could rally around. Many players contributed to the relief efforts, including Justin Verlander, a starting pitcher who was acquired just before the trade deadline.

“Justin Verlander’s first week of living in Houston was right after Hurricane Harvey, and he always mentions how important it is to him to wear Houston on his shirt and pitch for everyone who lives in this city,” Thompson said.

Students and teachers celebrated the team’s victories during the postseason. Longtime fans that have followed the Astros for the entire season felt especially proud of their favorite players.

“Mr. Elliot and I have this constant, ongoing fight: he gets annoyed with Evan Gattis because he strikes out and leaves men on base, so every time Evan Gattis does something good, I text him just the one word ‘Gattis’,” Thompson said.

The first two games of the World Series were held at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The series is tied, with the Dodgers taking game one and the Astros coming back to win game two in extra innings.