BOSTON -- Piling the whole family into the car and making the 100-mile trip to Fenway Park from New Britain, Conn., was not an uncommon summer weekend activity for the Springer family. School came first, but sports were a big part of their world, and watching the Red Sox in
BOSTON -- Piling the whole family into the car and making the 100-mile trip to Fenway Park from New Britain, Conn., was not an uncommon summer weekend activity for the Springer family. School came first, but sports were a big part of their world, and watching the Red Sox in person was something you didn't take lightly.
That's what makes today's Game 3 of the American League Division Series presented by Doosan at Fenway Park between the Astros and the Red Sox one that George Springer likely won't forget. It will be the first postseason game Springer has seen in person at Fenway, and he'll be the leadoff hitter for the Astros.
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"I've obviously seen playoff games there on TV, and I'm extremely blessed to have an opportunity to go play," Springer said. "I'm just going to enjoy it and try to help us win."
After going 0-for-4 in Game 1 on Thursday, Springer erupted in Game 2 and went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a homer and a walk in Houston's second consecutive 8-2 win over Boston. The Astros lead the best-of-five series, 2-0, and they can celebrate a clinch at Fenway Park two years after winning the AL Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium.
"The team over there isn't going to quit," Springer said. "We know who they are. We have to attack them the exact same way, and we'll play hard and we'll see what happens."
The clincher at Yankee Stadium in 2015 marked the first time Springer's father, George Springer Jr., had seen a postseason game in person. He'll be in the stands at Fenway Park today with his daughters and wife in what figures to be a proud moment.
"We came to a lot of them over the years, but I don't recall going to any playoff games [at Fenway]," Springer's father said. "Certainly, we didn't go to any with the kids. I would remember that. This is a different animal."
That being said, Springer's father said Red Sox playoff games over the years were can't-miss events in the Springer household.
"If the Red Sox were in a playoff game, all of us would have been watching it on TV -- probably every TV in the house," he said.
Springer has played in only seven games at Fenway Park in his career, three of which came last weekend when the Astros won three of four games from Boston to end the regular season. The Astros' trip to Fenway Park in 2016 marked Springer's first time playing at Fenway. He was injured the first two years of his career when Houston came to Boston.
George Springer Jr. took his son to his first Red Sox game when the future big leaguer was 3 1/2 years old, sitting in seats behind home plate, but toward the back. He said his son watched the game intently while gripping a small wooden bat, then went home and took some swings at Ping-Pong balls in the backyard.
The first memory of Fenway from Springer the player was the Red Sox's home opener in 1998, when Mo Vaughn hit a walk-off grand slam to cap a seven-run ninth inning. Springer had posters of Ken Griffey Jr. on his wall and idolized Torii Hunter, but Vaughn was his favorite Red Sox player.
"Obviously, I was a Sox fan as a kid and I got to watch all the playoff games that they won and lost, so I know what it's like," Springer said. "To be here now is obviously special for me."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.