springer dinger!

World Series MVP and fiancee host holiday event for displaced Houstonians, disclose details on the next Astros wedding

World Series MVP and fiancee host holiday event for Harvey victims

George Springer and choir kids
World Series MVP George Springer had a special serenade at the event, courtesy of the Houston Children's Chorus. J. Thomas Ford
George Springer high-fives choir kid
Afterwards, Springer glad-handed the glad kids. J. Thomas Ford
George Springer laughing
Springer cracked jokes and entertained the displaced residents. J. Thomas Ford
Charlise Castro, George Springer's fiancee
Springer's fiancee Charlise Castro is passionate about helping others, and keeping her private life, private. J. Thomas Ford
George Springer and choir kids
George Springer high-fives choir kid
George Springer laughing
Charlise Castro, George Springer's fiancee

Houston Astros playoff hero and World Series MVP George Springer shared his passion for helping Houstonians, while his fiancee Charlise Castro dished on the couple’s hectic schedule of post-World-Series life, at a recent holiday event for a local shelter.

The publicity-shy Springer — he famously avoids social media — made his media rounds yesterday, even showing up to do a hilarious traffic report with our content partner, ABC-13. (The appearance earned some love from J.J. Watt.) Springer seemed almost bashful when he greeted the giddy residents of the Residences of Emancipation, a 295-bed housing community in downtown Houston that serves those displaced by Hurricane Harvey. (The event was sponsored by Megabus, which has gifted more than $30,000 to local Harvey relief.)

The young carolers of Houston Children’s Chorus quickly shifted from holiday carols to “Take Me out to the Ballgame,” as he addressed the crowd. Springer posed for selfies, signed autographs, and clearly made the season bright for the displaced residents.

CultureMap caught up with Springer, who was more interested in talking about his beloved community outreach, and less about his place in our Top 20 Houston athletes list. The 28-year-old slugger and center fielder cracked some jokes, but was serious about his role as a humanitarian. “It’s my job,” he said of his role as a goodwill ambassador. “We’re all humans, and so anybody I can help — that’s what I’m supposed to do.” Taking a page out of the Roberto Clemente playbook, Springer added: “Just because I play sports, well, that doesn't mean anything. I just want to help people, as much as I can. If I can have a platform to do that, I always will.”

When asked about his own mother’s hometown, Utuado, Puerto Rico, which was devastated in the recent floods, Springer was appreciative, and concerned. “She couldn’t get ahold of a lot of people for two or three weeks,” he said of his mother, Laura, and her family. The Astros star says that seeing the Puerto Rican floods hit home, given the devastation of Harvey. “I’ve been to her hometown, and when I saw what happened, and I just felt horrible,” he said. “But they’re getting better. Her family is hanging in there.”

Talk of Springer has swirled around his contract status and his upcoming January wedding. Springer vows to lay low: “I’m a pretty low-key guy,” he said. “You’re probably not gonna see me, or hear from me for a while — I really like to hang around with my fiancee and enjoy our off time.” 

Meanwhile, Springer’s fiancee, Charlise Castro, spoke to CultureMap exclusively, about charity work, and her first-of-the-year nuptials. “I wouldn't have missed this," she said of the event. “We’re getting married in five weeks, so we’re considered one.” Castro added that the pair’s past makes them a perfect fit for the future. “George and I have similar interests,” said Castro. “We both have athletic backgrounds, we both come from the Northeast, and we both come from hardworking families. So helping others is something we care about and makes us both happy.”

Castro noted that she came to the event “to get a feel about how to do things like this in the future,” and that she’s interested in having a platform for helping the less-fortunate,  like her soon-to-be-husband. Castro said she’s inspired by her mother, who works at a home for at-risk boys. “I would love to work in a place where we can give back to kids,” she said.

Already a pro at fielding wedding questions, Castro, a physical trainer, laughed about the couple’s dizzying schedule since the World Series. “It’s been a crazy season; non-stop,” she exclaimed. “We’re in the process of moving, spend time with our families for the holidays, and plan a wedding.”

And about that wedding: did she get any ceremony advice from Kate Upton, who recently tied the knot with Justin Verlander? “I don't’ think we can top Kate’s,” Castro laughed. “And you know, we’re not showy — we’re simplistic. We’re both really easy going. We’re old souls.”