After a four-game road stand to start the MLB season in Arlington, the Houston Astros returned home for their 2018 home opener on Monday and the game had everything a fan could want.
After all was said and done, the Astros beat Baltimore 6-1.
The game was a chance for the hometown crowd to properly celebrate their team getting the club's first ever World Series.
"It is really cool," said outfielder Jake Marisnick. "We haven't been home since we won, so it will be great."
For the first World Series title in the team's history, the owner Jim Crane and Team President Reid Ryan spared no expense. The trophy was brought onto the field by the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales. A giant flag was also stretched out that took up the entire infield. Fireworks and smoke greeted the starters to the field. While everything started the great, the celebration did hit a snag when the team unveiled the World Series banner. The black cover would not fall off of the giant gold metal-flag that was secured to 'Championship Tower'. After a minute of struggling with it, a few crew members were able to give the crowd what they wanted as a packed Minute Made park erupted.
The team got to the special day after a historic turnaround. From 2011-2013, the team never loss less than 100 games. After a rebuild by new owner Crane, the team came along and knocked off the Los Angeles Dodgers in 7 games to win their championship last November. The team did it as many people watched from Houston while their homes were sitting in shambles from Hurricane Harvey.
"I felt like it was mutual," Marisnick said." We were supporting each other."
"The city rallied around us," Alex Bregman said. "We rallied around them. We won it for Houston."
The team will use pre-game as a way to celebrate over the next two games. After that it is all about the next 156 games as the team will look to repeat.
"We will celebrate from 5:50-6:20. We are going to celebrate the hell out of 2017. Then we will get to work," said manager A.J. Hinch." That is the message to this team. We have three wins. We want 100."
Every team wants to repeat as World Series Champions but the goal is easier than reality. Since the 1999-2000 New York Yankees no team has been able to repeat as World Series Champions.
"Winning is hard at this level," Hinch said. "We assume Jose is going to hit over .300. We assume Carlos will be a super star. We assume Verlander will have a miniscule ERA. Just look at all those playoff games and key plays. If they go a different way, we are not talking about repeating. We are talking about chasing our first title."
The players and coaches will get their championship rings on Tuesday. Fans have several more chances over opening weekend to get their hands on World Series replica gear as giveaways.
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