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 and behind the dugouts 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.