HOUSTON -- Fans showed up to cheer the Astros again Tuesday night, loudly and raucously, stomping, chanting and letting it all go. No use holding anything back when you've had 56 years to dream about something.Only this time, it was different. In some ways, it was better. This time, there
HOUSTON -- Fans showed up to cheer the Astros again Tuesday night, loudly and raucously, stomping, chanting and letting it all go. No use holding anything back when you've had 56 years to dream about something.
Only this time, it was different. In some ways, it was better. This time, there was no World Series tension, no anxiety and no more turning off the television to take a breath. As Astros radio broadcaster Steve Sparks said at the beginning of the evening, "You're going to like the ending."
So this was a chance to again celebrate one of the greatest moments the fourth-largest city in the country has had.
Actually, what Sparks had said earlier was even better.
"Can you believe why we're here?" Sparks asked.
That captures what a lot of people were thinking. Sparks had said the same thing as he stood beside the World Series trophy outside the Cullen Center on the University of Houston campus, before Major League Baseball premiered its 90-minute 2017 World Series documentary.
Sparks kept glancing back at the trophy as if it might disappear, as if somebody might come and take it off to St. Louis or Los Angeles or some place that has done this more often than Houston.
"Surreal," Sparks kept saying. "It just seems surreal."
And it will for a while longer. This city that had watched others hoist World Series trophies now has one of its own, thanks to a team that was a nearly perfect mix of youth and experience, passion and resolve.
The fans relived the whole thing during the documentary premiere. It was beautifully done -- a film that connects on every level in mixing action, interviews and behind-the-scenes drama that puts it all in perspective.
There was Marwin Gonzalez's improbable, game-saving ninth-inning home run in Game 2. And the blasts from Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and George Springer that followed.
There's that 5-hour, 17-minute Game 5, one in which the Astros overcame deficits of 4-0 and 7-4 to finally win, 13-12, in 10 innings.
There's Astros hitting coach Dave Hudgens giving Springer a pep talk after his four strikeouts in Game 1. There's Springer sitting near the batting cage before Game 7 saying, "November 1. Put that in your calendar and remember."
There's a sweet moment of Altuve and his wife, Nina, and infant daughter, Melanie, in their home a few hours before Game 3.
If you love baseball, or sports, you will love this film. If you're an Astros fan, you will watch it again and again.
You will see facial expressions you hadn't seen before. You will see the tension on the faces of both the Astros and Dodgers.
You will almost feel the vibrations of two packed ballparks, Dodger Stadium and Minute Maid Park, and you will be taken back to a World Series that delivered on everything, from drama to entertainment to great theater.
This was a World Series rich in personalities and players performing at their best with the lights brightest.
You will see tears, too, especially those of Carlos Beltran, this great veteran of the game capping off a 20-year career with a championship.
At the beginning of Tuesday night's premiere, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow took the stage to remember his first two seasons, 2012 and '13, when the Astros lost 107 and 111 games, respectively.
Astros owner Jim Crane was transparent about how things were going to go when he bought the club in late 2011. He said he was going to hire a general manager with a great track record in player development -- which would be Luhnow -- and he was going to give him the freedom to start anew.
When the Astros lost 111 games, Luhnow got a specialized license plate with "111" on it.
"I wanted to be reminded every single morning and night," Luhnow said. "You know how many we won this year? That's right, 112, baby. I'm going to get a new license plate."
Luhnow's first major decision was using his first two Draft picks on shortstop Correa and right-hander Lance McCullers Another smart move was hiring A.J. Hinch to manage the Astros in 2015.
"The manager is the heart and soul of your team," Luhnow said. "He's the one the players have to believe in."
When Luhnow departed the stage, Hinch made the perfect entry, walking slowly, World Series trophy in hand.
"This is ours," Hinch announced. "It's been chaos. You people are crazy about the Astros."
Hinch saluted American League Most Valuable Player Altuve, saying, "As long as he's on our team, I'm never going to doubt this team."
And with that, the documentary put the amazing run back on display. Mixed into the film was the story of Hurricane Harvey, both the damage it inflicted on Houston and the way it affected the Astros, individually and collectively.
As Hinch said, "We're always asking a city to rally around a team. It's OK to ask a team to rally around a city."
Or as Springer, the World Series MVP, said, "It shows dreams can come true."
"I think forever our lives have changed," McCullers said. "I don't say we're legends, but our team is legendary."
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.