HOUSTON -- While fans in Boston experienced Game 4 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan in rainy weather at Fenway Park, the Astros provided an air-conditioned Minute Maid Park for the public to view a series-clinching 5-4 victory over the Red Sox.
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As soon as Yuli Gurriel squeezed his first baseman's mitt for the final out, fans launched out of their seats, erupting in celebration. Complete strangers high-fived and hugged each other. Towels continuously spun around in the air. A city that had been through a devastating hurricane saw its team advance to its first American League Championship Series presented by Camping World.
Louis Landin, an Astros fan of 42 years, was in town on business from El Paso, Texas, when he found out about the watch party. While excited that the LCS is returning to Houston for the first time since 2005, Landin's thoughts are on a bigger goal.
"My dad used to bring me out here when we were in the Astrodome," Landin said. "You have to enjoy the moment, because tomorrow we don't know what is going to happen. I got the ticket stub. I got this, man. Onward to the World Series."
Televisions throughout the park showed the game. Most fans chose to view the big videoboard above the seats in right field, commonly referred to as "El Grande" by Astros television analyst Geoff Blum.
Prior to the game, a street festival allowed fans to enjoy various activities. Those in attendance were serenaded by a live band, received balloon hats in Astros colors and could play in the bounce houses.
Orbit, the Astros' mascot, also made an appearance along with the Shooting Stars. Oscar Cienfuegos, who is from nearby Baytown, Texas, brought his granddaughters to experience the Astros advancing. Cienfuegos has noticed the fanbase rallying behind the team and picking up more interest.
"Houston has been coming up in the standings as far as being a great team," Cienfuegos said. "It's always been a great town, but nowadays, people are paying a little bit more attention."
Nine-year season-ticket holders Jan and Stan Mingus returned to Minute Maid Park for the Game 4 party, and they watched the game from the Crawford Boxes. Jan Mingus has missed only one Astros home game this season, and Minute Maid Park is where she wanted to be when the Astros advanced to the ALCS.
"I'm a baseball person, and I grew up with baseball in my family," Jan said. "Baseball is just a part of my soul."
After the game, fans walking up the aisles to head to their cars could be heard saying, "Every team should do this. Every team should host a watch party."
Fans are invited to watch each of the Astros' road postseason games on the Minute Maid Park videoboard and attend street festivals on Crawford Street, beginning two hours before the scheduled first pitch. Admission is free. Fans will need to claim a free Postseason Watch Party voucher for entry at www.astros.com/postseason/festivities or at any of the Postseason Watch Party entrances the day of the event.