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Astros host playoff rally before quest to repeat

MLB.com @alysonfooter

HOUSTON -- Mayor Sylvester Turner, never one to dance around the issues, got right to the heart of the matter at the Astros' annual postseason rally at City Hall on Wednesday.

"Are you hungry for a little bit more?" Turner asked the lunchtime crowd that had gathered for the noon rally. "Do you want to see that happen again?"

HOUSTON -- Mayor Sylvester Turner, never one to dance around the issues, got right to the heart of the matter at the Astros' annual postseason rally at City Hall on Wednesday.

"Are you hungry for a little bit more?" Turner asked the lunchtime crowd that had gathered for the noon rally. "Do you want to see that happen again?"

Turner, obviously, was referring to the Astros winning the World Series in 2017, and he -- along with millions of fans in the fourth-largest city in America -- has a new challenge: Do it again.

"I can tell you this," Turner said, "this Astros team has really made Houston proud. Last year, after a whole lot of water landed on the city of Houston [during Hurricane Harvey], they lifted our spirits. I can never thank them enough for what they did. They carried us in their hearts, on their jerseys, and they brought us a world championship."

:: ALDS schedule and results ::

If Houston history has any role in this, the Astros may just nab another world title. As president and general manager Jeff Luhnow pointed out while addressing the crowd, when a Houston team has won one championship, it has followed it up with another.

Sure, it has only happened twice, but it's notable, nonetheless. The Rockets won back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and '95, and the Dynamo captured consecutive MLS Cup titles in 2006 and '07. No other Houston sports team -- with the exception of the '17 Astros -- has won a championship.

"Rockets, Dynamo, and hopefully us," Luhnow said.

Will the 2018 Astros continue the back-to-back tradition?

"I am telling you, we are living through the golden era of Astros baseball," Luhnow said to the crowd. "Not only did we win the World Series last year -- we had an incredible team and beat the three powerhouses -- we went out this offseason and we improved the team.

"We took a really excellent team in 2017 and made it even better. Here's to a great postseason and hopefully bringing another championship to Houston."

Tweet from @alysonfooter: Tony Kemp: ���You see how many people support our team. We definitely feed off that energy. We wouldn���t be in this spot without the fans, so hats off to them.��� pic.twitter.com/4xBUCaOTm6

The rally participants -- Turner, Luhnow, outfielder Tony Kemp, relief pitcher Ryan Pressly, team president of business operations Reid Ryan and club owner Jim Crane -- encouraged Astros fans to wear orange on Friday and Saturday, when the Astros host the Indians for the first two games of the American League Division Series at Minute Maid Park.

"Wear orange, no matter where you are," Ryan said. "Get your flags out, get your signs out. We need to turn this town orange and get that home-field advantage going this Friday and Saturday."

Added Turner: "If they don't allow you to wear the Astros' colors, just tell them the mayor said, 'Wear orange.'"

Tweet from @alysonfooter: Mayor Sylvester Turner commends the Astros for bringing Houston a World Championship last year. ���Are you hungry for a little bit more?��� pic.twitter.com/Ta8hO4n2kL

The Astros' contingent that gathered at City Hall had a head start on that directive. Kemp, dressed in a blue Astros jersey with orange lettering, spoke on behalf of the on-field personnel, reiterating how special it was to bring a championship to Houston while thanking the fanbase for its unwavering support, even during trying times.

"People always ask me what the most important thing about Houston is," Kemp said. "I remember in late August last year, with Hurricane Harvey, this city, the way it rallied -- it gets emotional for a lot of people, but bringing a championship to the city means that much more. It's amazing what we can do when we believe in each other. I think it's going to be really fun on Friday. I hope everybody gets excited."

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.

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