By Chris Daigle
November 1, 2017: In one night, Houston’s motto throughout this city went from “Go Astros” to “Wow! Just Wow!
I grew up here. I watched the Colt 45’s from hard chairs with Pappy and Grandmother as they hoped for what just happened tonight. I watched in the Astrodome as Phil Niekro and Nolan Ryan and Cesar Cedeno took us on a journey that almost got us to what just happened tonight. Back then, we just had to wonder, “What would it be like if the Astros made it all the way to World Champions?” For decades the thought process was, well, that’s a nice dream, but let’s not get our hopes up. So it went, get close, but better luck next year. We always watched another team spray the champagne and have a parade.
We finally got our hopes up, and it worked. The collective push of a million hopes carried our team to the finish line like we’ve never seen before in almost 60 years of trying. There was a new feeling in the air this time. Even Sports Illustrated predicted three years ago that the Astros have what it takes to go all the way.
Houston, as a city, has always been like that. We get going for tomorrow, because somebody, a lot of somebodies, cleared a path for this a long time ago. We named a team the Astros from the Colt 45’s because we reached for space and had the guts to succeed at it. I was born in a place where one of our own, Roy Hofheinz, decided that we can be greater, and his guts and his Astrodome put Houston on the map.
I stood on Texas Avenue during all this excitement and remembered that I rode trains from this place when it was a train station at age five, hence the locomotive at the top heralding home runs. Right now this ballpark is the center of the universe as the entire country is holding its breath watching our team make history. In the middle of an event like this, we have to look forward, it’s not over yet. Now it’s over, and among the cheers and the signs, and the hugs, I realize we have a treasure, a gigantic piece of Houston history is happening, and we still can’t believe it.
I think we can do away with the notion that a Houston team must be “Better Luck Next Year.” It sounds now a whole lot more like “Let’s Do This.” A hurricane put Houston through hell, yet only made us better and got us going. We always had it in us, and now it’s front page news. The Astros took this city into orbit, and now that it’s all over, we’re feeling like we’ve come back from another planet.
There were no riots after this victory, nobody took to a knee during the National Anthem. We won in a way that would make Nolan Ryan and Phil Niekro and Cesar Cedeno proud. Generations not even born yet will look back at tonight and quietly say, “I want that to happen for me.”
Thanks, guys. You made a trail, and we followed it to a place in history.