ASTROS WIN

Big crowd at Minute Maid goes crazy as Astros win World Series and Correa gets engaged

Carlos Correa got engaged. Getty Images

Oh, what a night! An intense World Series battle between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers that made fans on both sides an emotional wreck turned out to be pure bliss for Houstonians Wednesday night as the Astros made history, winning the franchise's first World Series in the winner-take-all game.

As they did Tuesday night in Game 6, fans in orange and navy Astros gear turned out in force at Minute Maid Park for the World Series Game 7 Watch Party to cheer or cry together, depending on the outcome.

While lines were long when the doors opened at 5 pm, more than 17,000 fans quickly filed into the stadium to snag a prime seat on three levels from first base to third and catch the game on the ballpark's large projector screen that hangs above the outfield— and on every flatscreen TV around. 

"It's game 7 and I want to be here to feel the energy when we win this game. The city needs this coming off of Hurricane Harvey," Astros fan Hilary Stalarow told CultureMap. 

The crowd, a mix of ages with many families and children in the stands, started getting rowdy early on. Just before the first pitch, a group seated in a section of seats booed two L.A. fans in Dodgers jerseys as they arrived. The roar became louder as many in the ball park chimed in, and everyone turned to stare down the culprits. The boos were immediately followed by a loud chant that was constant throughout the night, "Beat L.A.!" 

The excitement level surged in the first inning as the Astros jumped to a 2-0 lead and climbed in the second inning as pitcher Lance McCullers showed off his batting prowess with a fielder's choice ground out to extend the lead to 3-0. The crowd stood to cheer and remained standing when center fielder George Springer hit a two-run homer in the same inning to push the score to 5-0 Astros. Cheers of "Dilly, Dilly!" and "Let's go Astros" erupted as hope and emotions kicked into high gear. 

Fortunately for emotionally worn-out fans, Wednesday's game didn't have the drastic ups and downs of Game 2 and Game 5 (or the complete downer of Game 6). Things calmed down as the Dodgers could only manage one run throughout the game, but more boos ensued when images from Dodger Stadium on the screen showed celebs in the crowd, including Mary Hart and Larry King. Every celebrity that is, but swimsuit model and pitcher Justin Verlander's fiance, Kate Upton, who received rousing cheers of support. 

But nothing compared to the overwhelming feeling of exhilaration as the Astros won game 7, beating the Dodgers 5-1. Hugs, high-fives, and a few tears followed as confetti streamed from the rafters. It was a stirring moment of pure joy in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The crowd stood united, grateful to and proud of the Astros, and all the havoc disappeared for one night. Houston deserves it. And the Astros earned it. 

Just when fans thought it couldn't get any better, those who were filing out looked up at the screen and watched as Astros shortstop Carlos Correa got down on one knee after the game in Los Angeles and proposed to his fiancé, Miss Texas USA Daniella Rodriguez, on national TV. She said yes.

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The Astros need to beat up on the lowly Rangers. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Collectively so far this season the Astros would not make for very good garbage men. Meaning they haven't been so good at taking out the trash. Swept in a series at Detroit when the Tigers were terrible, swept at Minute Maid Park by the sorry Orioles, swept in an early season series at the Rangers. Presently the Rangers are an atrocity. A nine game losing streak has them 35-62, buried deeply in last place in the American League West, 23 games behind the Astros. So the Astros need to whip up on them in this weekend's three game set, before the Astros head west for a three city road trip with stops in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

15. The number of home runs Jose Altuve has hit over his last 37 games. Multiply by four and that's a 60 homers in 148 games pace. Over those 37 games, Altuve is batting just .242. But slugging .577.

.029. Carlos Correa's batting average dating back 10 games played. One hit in his last 34 at bats. 14 strikeouts and just one walk over the stretch. That is what you call a funk. Certainly not a way to curry 300 million dollar contract offers.

The Rangers have just two 100 loss seasons in their history, their first two seasons after becoming the Rangers upon moving from Washington D.C. In 1972 the Ted Williams managed squad went 62-100, Ted quit, and the next year the Rangers finished 57-105. If the Astros sweep them this weekend, the Rangers will be on pace to lose 105 games.

It will be a decade ago this October that the Rangers came as close to winning a World Series as any team has ever come without winning the Series. In 2011 the Rangers carried a three games to two lead into game six at St. Louis. The Rangers led game six 7-5 with two on, two out, and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth. The Cardinals' David Freese drilled a ball toward the base of the right field wall. Rangers' right fielder Nelson Cruz didn't make an error but didn't play the ball well, going back awkwardly and reaching out at the last second as if afraid of the wall. It went for a two run triple to tie the game. Two innings later Freese hit a game winning homer to force game seven.

The inning before that the Rangers again came within one strike of winning it all. A Josh Hamilton two run homer had the Rangers up 9-7 going to the bottom of the 10th. The Cards got within 9-8. With the tying run on second and two out, Rangers' Manager Ron Washington opted to intentionally walk Albert Pujols. Albert was still a tremendous player in 2011 (his last with the Redbirds), but he was not better than Lance Berkman that season, definitely not against right-handed pitching. Walking Pujols brought up Berkman to face right-hander Scott Feldman (a matchup of former Astro and future Astro). Berkman lined a two-two pitch to center field tying the game 9-9, ahead of Freese's 11th inning walk-off homer. One of the most incredible games in World Series history.

NCAA

Quite the story hitting that Texas and Oklahoma may be plotting to bolt the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. That neither UT, OU, nor the SEC denied it has smoke billowing. The Sooners have won the last six Big 12 football championships. The Longhorns last won in 2009. Oklahoma St., Kansas St., Baylor, TCU, all have more recently won at least a share of the conference title. An SEC UT could be looking at being in a division with Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, and Texas A&M. UT marketing folks should be exploring a huge sponsorship deal with 7-Eleven. You know, Big Gulp. But as usual, follow the money.

The week ahead…

Wednesday: The Texans open training camp! Wait. Delete the exclamation point. Whither Deshaun Watson?

Thursday: The NBA Draft. Unless the Rockets pull off a thunderbolt of a trade to move up to number one and select Cade Cunningham, the winds of opinion are blowing in the direction of the Rockets taking wing Jalen Green second overall pick. That would be fine. Green is generally considered the most potential-laden explosive scorer on the board. The Rockets can use just about everything, a premium wing scorer would be excellent.

Friday: The MLB trade deadline. Does James Click bolster the Astros' shaky bullpen. The Astros have also been linked to Marlins' center fielder Starling Marte. Growing from his wretched start Myles Straw has been plenty acceptable. Free agent-to-be Marte would be a notable upgrade.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. First big beat the deadline win goes to the Rays. 41-year-old designated hitter Nelson Cruz still mashes. Simple frame of reference: he's been notably better than Yordan Alvarez this year.

2. The delayed by a year 2020 Summer Olympics are underway. Any interest at all?

3. Baseball's greatest Cruzes: Bronze-Jose Jr. Silver-Nelson Gold-Jose Sr.

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