H-Town Hold it Down

Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack Block Party gives us a reason to be proud to be Houstonians

Jose Partida with his Cactus Jacks. Courtesy photo

I have been part of the sneaker community since I was in middle school. Back then, my hobbies included sitting on my computer on 23isback.com or designing my own pair of Air Maxes on Nike ID. Of course, back then I could not afford to actually buy those sneakers. All I could do was admire them and promise myself: once I started making real money I can buy myself whatever shoes I want. I am still working on that “making real money” thing, but here I stand in 2018 with more sneakers than there are days in a month. We all have our own vices, right?

I remember first hearing about Travis Scott in 2012 when he was all over Cruel Summer, the compilation album by Kanye’s GOOD Music. The following year, he dropped Owl Pharaoh and began seriously leaving his imprint in rap music. Fast forward to 2018, Travis has established himself as one of the top artists in Hip Hop and one of the biggest celebrities in Houston.

Last Wednesday, Travis Scott took to twitter to announce his Cactus Jack Block Party, presented by Jordan Brand. I was fortunate enough to attend the event that converged several of my favorite things: Sneakers, Hip Hop, and, of course, Sports.

The Party took place at Root Memorial Square Park, right outside of Toyota Center. By the time I arrived to the event the line wrapped around the park. Us millennials do not play when it comes to supporting our favorite artist. There was another line at the park, though. This line was for those who lucked out on the Nike SNKRS app and were waiting for their chance to get Travis’ collaboration with Jordan Brand, the Cactus Jack. Travis’ shoe is an Air Jordan Four covered in blue suede, with white, red and black accents. They are a fitting tribute to the long gone Houston Oilers.

Once into the park, fans were given a chance to enjoy a party that was as Houston as it could be. 97.9 The Box played the music. Frenchy’s Chicken fed the fans. Deshaun Watson watched on as the basketball tournament took place. Of course, there cannot be a Houston party without the presence of Bun B, who made his way through the Social Status line and purchased his own pair of Cactus Jack’s. To put a bow on it, fans jumped the rails when Travis arrived and got the party shut down by the Fire Marshal. How’s that for a Houston party?

As I took in the event it dawned on me, this is the first time Houston has done something like this. Collaborations between Nike and artists are not uncommon. They’ve done it with Kanye West, they’ve done it with Drake, and they are doing it right now with Kendrick Lamar. Travis granted the Houstonian sneaker head the chance to feel that special feeling with this release. He grabbed one of the best Jordan silhouettes and created a shoe that resonates with everyone in the city of Houston. When I look at the Cactus Jack Fours I see Paul Wall hanging out in a Warren Moon throwback. I see Johnny Dang giving Lance McCullers his World Series Grill. I see PJ Tucker  hustling for a rebound wearing his pair in the NBA playoffs. I see the encapsulation of this unapologetically Hip Hop city.

Travis has taken his music around the world, never letting people forget where he is from. The fact he has released one of the most talked about sneakers of the year gives me as much pride as him rapping about Houston at festivals around the world.

At one point in his life, Travis was much like me. A young sneaker head who could only dream about one day having his own shoe. Now, he has them and, with another color way possibly on the way, the dream collaboration with Jordan is only getting started. If Travis Scott was not already respected by Houstonians for his music, I think he has done himself many favors this year. Whether it was sitting court side throughout the Rockets’ historic season or putting on an exclusive event like this one, Travis shows us why we should be proud to be Houstonians.

From the 713 to the 281, Houston is proud to call Travis Scott their own, and, boy, were they happy to get their hands on the Cactus Jacks’ a day before their official launch.  

 

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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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