HOUSTON -- It is two months to the day since Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner imposed a curfew. The water from Hurricane Harvey was still standing deep across parts of the region. Homes and businesses were in shambles. Rescues were still underway."I want the Astros to play Friday night," Turner tweeted
HOUSTON -- It is two months to the day since Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner imposed a curfew. The water from Hurricane Harvey was still standing deep across parts of the region. Homes and businesses were in shambles. Rescues were still underway.
"I want the Astros to play Friday night," Turner tweeted the following day, Aug. 30. "I want regular activities to resume."
• Dress for the World Series: Get Astros postseason gear
:: World Series presented by YouTube TV: Schedule and coverage ::
What he and Houstonians faced at that time was unthinkable. A half-million homes and businesses were affected by the record rainfall, which flooded neighborhoods in the region. But to see what the 113th World Series has done to lift spirits has been unimaginable as well.
"It's not just any World Series for us, it's the World Series after Hurricane Harvey," Turner said. "It epitomizes our rebuilding, our recovering, and it's about the spirit of the city. It's not just about the game, or the players on the field. Every time the Astros go on the field, 2.3 million Houstonians are right there with them in spirit on the field."
After Alex Bregman's walk-off hit in the 10th inning sealed a 13-12 win for the Astros in Game 5 to give them a 3-2 Series lead, Turner spoke to MLB.com on his way out of the ballpark:
"Much respect to the L.A. Dodgers, but this is just our moment. An amazing game for an incredible city after Hurricane Harvey. Like we were saying, we have to earn it. Tonight, we earned it."
There are still reminders of what Harvey wrought all over the region, but you also see the "Earn History" and "Go Astros" signs everywhere you look, and Turner is proud of his town.
"This World Series is about our resilience, our character, it's about who we are," he said. "When ... you've had 50 inches of rainfall and 27 trillion gallons, and yet you are still standing ... The recovery has been fantastic, this hurricane brought about a great deal of unity, togetherness. So for these games, when they're out there playing, look -- you are out cheering and clapping like never before. Because you want the world to know: We are still Houston, we are Houston Strong, and the Astros are literally carrying this city right now on their backs.
"If they thought it was loud at the end of the seventh game against the Yankees, and then the first game where we won in the World Series, you wait till it's done. But we are taking one game at a time. I have a lot of respect for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Harvey couldn't keep us down. Boston couldn't keep us out. The New York Yankees couldn't keep us out. And the L.A. Dodgers will not deny us the World Series."
Sunday's night Game 5 was the final baseball game in 2017 in these emotion-packed parts. The Series will move to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Tuesday night, and then a Game 7 at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday if necessary. Whatever happens, you can expect the Astros to receive a heroes' return because of what they have done to help lift this city's spirits.
Who knows? The city could go from streets filled with floating rescue boats to streets filled with parade floats.
"Let's just say, I'm always positive," Turner said. "I don't assume the worst. You know, we will see what happens. If it's destined for it to be, it will be. Let me just put it that way. There's a lot of excitement. You can't find one Houstonian in this region that's not excited about these Astros.
"Wouldn't that be a story? To come from being 50 inches underwater, to millions on the streets applauding -- even while we seek to rebuild our own homes. And that's what's so crazy about this. You've got thousands of people in the city that are still building, working to remediate and repair their homes. They've either got their television turned on or they're at some sports bar or they're in the stadium, even while they are going through a lot of stuff.
"I'm biased, but it's an incredible city. FEMA told me it would take four to six months to clean up the city and remove debris on the first wave. We did that three weeks ago."
Per tradition, there is a friendly wager between the two World Series mayors. The bet calls for Turner to take Killen's Barbecue to Los Angeles if the Dodgers clinch, and for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti to take Korean BBQ and beer to Turner at Killen's if Houston wins it all.
Turner believes most of the U.S. has somewhat adopted the Astros, at least people outside Los Angeles. Though the Dodgers do have a massive fan base, there is probably some truth to Turner's stance.
"I know that there are a lot of people throughout the country who are certainly supportive of Houston and want to send positive vibes to Houston," Turner said. "There's no question about that. It's no disrespect to L.A., but I think people recognize the city, end of August, September, what we faced. People saw the city underwater, and the region, during Hurricane Harvey. And the fact that we find ourselves in the World Series, I think it resonates with a lot of people throughout the country.
"Quite frankly, that's what we do as Americans. We deal with challenges, but we don't stay down. We rise to the occasion. And Americans understand that -- never die, never give up, don't complain, just make it happen, that can-do spirit -- that's what's on display in this World Series. It's a can-do spirit. Even though you may have been dealt a bad hand, we're going to play the hand we were dealt, and we are going to be victorious at the end."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Follow him on Twitter @Marathoner and read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com/blogs hub.