Astros' World Series parade a packed affair in Houston

November 8th, 2022

HOUSTON -- An estimated crowd of nearly 2 million raucous fans lined a 1.7-mile stretch of Smith Street on Monday afternoon for the championship parade to celebrate Astros, who won their second World Series title in five seasons with a Game 6 victory over the Phillies on Saturday.

“It was unreal,” outfielder Mauricio Dubón said. “Never seen so many people.”

As far as third baseman Alex Bregman is concerned, Houston remains firmly a baseball town because of the Astros, who have made the playoffs seven of the last eight seasons. And it would be hard to argue considering the enthusiasm level of Monday’s crowd, which withstood steamy temperatures in the mid-80s to get a glimpse of the players and both of the championship trophies.

“Everybody here loves the Astros,” Bregman said after the parade. “I see Astros jerseys when I’m driving around going to get coffee in the morning. There’s a certain energy in Houston when it’s baseball time, and you could see that today during the celebration.”

The Astros played in the World Series for the fourth time in six seasons and rebounded from losses in the Fall Classic in 2019 and ‘21 by beating the underdog Phillies in six games. After winning 106 games in the regular season, Houston swept the Mariners in the AL Division Series, swept the Yankees in the AL Championship Series and won the final three games in the World Series from the Phillies. Houston was 11-2 in the postseason.

The players rode atop three different trucks down Smith Street and were cheered loudly during every stretch. Chants of “Let’s go Astros!” and “We want Houston!” -- the cheer Yankees fans yelled outside Yankee Stadium after beating the Guardians in the ALDS -- filled the air. Fans dressed head to toe in Astros gear, including children (many area schools were closed), were as far as the eye could see in some points.

“It was incredible,” first baseman/designated hitter Trey Mancini said. “It was definitely the most people I’ve seen in my life in one place. We felt the love from the city, and it was incredible to be a part of.”

Dubón said the popularity of rookie shortstop Jeremy Peña, who was voted the MVP of the ALCS and the World Series, was evident along the parade route.

“I saw probably 100,000 signs that say, ‘Marry me, Peña,’” Dubón said. “That was unreal. He is a very popular guy out here.”

Peña, who took over for franchise icon Carlos Correa and delivered in so many big postseason moments, said everything he and the team accomplished still hasn’t sunk in.

“I’ve been on cloud nine,” he said. “I still have processed everything that’s going on. This is special.”

Bregman, who joins Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel, Lance McCullers Jr., and Justin Verlander, as the only holdovers from the 2017 team, estimated the crowd was double the size it was five years ago, when the Astros beat the Dodgers for their first World Series title. This year’s celebration was the first World Series parade for Verlander, who missed it in 2017 to attend his wedding in Italy to model Kate Upton.

“I’m not sure the exact numbers, but it felt like it with just how excited everybody was and we were super happy to be able to bring a championship back to Houston,” Bregman said. “That’s what it’s all about. I’m so happy and proud to be a part of it.”