HOUSTON -- The Astros missed an opportunity to win their first World Series championhip on Tuesday, falling, 3-1, to the Dodgers in Game 6 at Dodger Stadium. But after seeing the club overcome so much adversity in 2017 -- including injuries, the impact of Hurricane Harvey and a 3-2 deficit
HOUSTON -- The Astros missed an opportunity to win their first World Series championhip on Tuesday, falling, 3-1, to the Dodgers in Game 6 at Dodger Stadium. But after seeing the club overcome so much adversity in 2017 -- including injuries, the impact of Hurricane Harvey and a 3-2 deficit in the American League Championship Series -- many hometown fans at Minute Maid Park remain optimistic heading into Wednesday's Game 7.
As with all postseason road games, Minute Maid Park was open to the public for Game 6. Fans took advantage by watching the game for free on "El Grande" -- the 54-foot-tall, 124-foot-wide high-definition screen. The game was also shown outside at a festival on Crawford Street.
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Even though Houston lost after taking an early 1-0 lead on a George Springer home run, thousands of raucous fans had the ballpark buzzing in anticipation of potentially the first championship in the history of the franchise, which debuted as the Colt .45's in 1962. Many plan to return again for Game 7, the winner-take-all finale.
"Even with the loss, just being here is incredible," said Nathan Frank, a 30-year-old Houston native. "Being a Houston sports fan, I'll be back tomorrow. To experience this, a chance to win the World Series, is once in a lifetime. As an Astros fan, win or lose, you don't know when you'll get another chance. It's just something you have to do."
For Frank, this season has been personal. He grew to love baseball while watching it as a child with his grandfather, who died earlier this year. Then, just before the postseason started, his son, Houston, was born. Fortunately for Frank, his in-laws watched his son on Tuesday, allowing him and his wife to attend the watch party.
"It's not just an exciting time, it's personal for me," Frank said. "I'm excited and happy, yet still reminiscing and wishing that all these people could be with me to watch. Having been an Astros fan my entire life, I want to experience this with the people of Houston."
Sheena Segafredo, 33, and her husband, Blake, began attending Astros games in 2011, the first of three straight 100-plus-loss seasons. However, current stars, including Jose Altuve, Dallas Keuchel and Marwin Gonzalez, each made their debuts in those seasons, and the Houston-based couple has enjoyed watching their growth.
"In those first years, in one game, Blake counted every fan in the stands," Segafredo said. "We were just baseball fans, looking to get cheap tickets. But you could see some individual pieces that had talent. They just needed to all come together, and grow and mature as a team.
"Now that it's happening, I don't think I've ever seen a better World Series. This city has become a baseball town. Since Harvey, the way this city has turned around and rallied around them, it's just an amazing feeling. The Astros just won't quit, and it really has mirrored the image of the city with the hurricane."
Wendy Callis, a 38-year-old native of nearby Beaumont, began following the Astros in the 1980s as a child. For the Game 6 watch party, which took place on Halloween, she brought her husband and 10-year-old son, Collin, who chose the watch party over trick-or-treating.
"It's phenomenal to see this many people and kids come out on a rainy weekday, and on Halloween," Callis said. "Even my son chose to come here instead of going trick-or-treating. It's just wonderful to see how many people are supporting the Astros, even though it's not a live event. They're bringing signs, rally towels, everyone is cheering together and it just feels like you're at the game."
Though the Astros now face a Game 7, it's a spot they're familiar with after beating the Yankees in seven games in the ALCS. As a result, the vibe among fans remained one of quiet confidence, even after a lethargic offensive performance in Game 6 that followed a 13-run outburst in Game 5.
"On some small level, I'm happy, because it's more baseball," Segafredo said. "It just means the season isn't over yet. I'm not too worried about Game 7. I think deep down, we have this World Series. This offense can break out at any moment. Even when you think they're down and out, they're not."
The Game 6 watch party was the first postseason "sellout," with more than 40,000 vouchers distributed and sections filled on all levels. To ensure admission for Wednesday's Game 7 event, fans can claim free vouchers.
"This was nuts," said 33-year-old Miguel Molina, who also attended earlier watch parties this postseason. "There's 10 times as many people here as Game 1."
Ben DuBose is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston.