Houston Celebrates First-Ever World Series Win After Astros Clinch Championship
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
A city that's used to dealing with sports heartache is now celebrating a World Series title. The Houston Astros' 5-1 victory in Game 7 last night gave the franchise its first championship. And as Houston Public Media's Brien Straw reports, it exorcised a lot of demons for Astros fans.
BRIEN STRAW, BYLINE: The wait has been 55 years in the making, and for many Houstonians, it's been painful.
CAMERON BARR: As a Houstonian and being let down as many times as we have been by our sports teams, to see our team actually achieve a championship in my lifetime is - it really is amazing.
STRAW: That's Cameron Barr, who feels the Astros' victory helps erase decades of heartbreaking playoff failures. In their 10th playoff appearance in team history, they finally won it all. For Andrew Wenger, it's the path to the title that makes this victory so sweet.
ANDREW WENGER: The fact that we beat Red Sox, Yankees, then Dodgers - it's three of the perennial best franchises in the league - it's pretty incredible.
STRAW: Wenger says the title has inspired him to buy 2018 season tickets. And for a city still dealing with the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey and a long road to recovery, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says the Astros' first title provides a perfect escape.
SYLVESTER TURNER: When you consider 27 trillion gallons of water falling on our area, thousands of homes flooded and yet and still they stood up and cheered and carried the Astros in spirit and body and then for the Astros to win - for the city of Houston, this was personal.
STRAW: Astros fan Robert Menendez has a lot of family in Chicago that last year were able to celebrate the Cubs' first series win in 108 years. He says he's looking forward to showing off an Astros tattoo he plans to get.
ROBERT MENENDEZ: Last year, they were going crazy. And now this year it's my turn. And so I'm really pretty excited.
STRAW: Many Astro fans celebrated Wednesday's win with a shopping spree. At the Academy Sports + Outdoors near midtown Houston, Shane Carlisle says people started lining up for commemorative World Series hats and shirts in the second inning of the game. By the time the game ended, he says hundreds were waiting.
SHANE CARLISLE: We actually had boxes and boxes in the back of our stores ready to go a couple of days before Game 7. So as soon as that last out came across, we brought all the product out, slapped them on the table and started selling products immediately after the game.
STRAW: Susan Wong was one of the hundreds in line this morning.
SUSAN WONG: Dropped the kids off already, and I have to go to work in late today. So this is how I'll be spending my time.
STRAW: And as the city prepares for a victory parade on Friday, of all the things that this title means for Houston, perhaps its greatest gift is a change in the psyche of its sports fans, like Lisa Jenkins.
LISA JENKINS: I believe now (laughter).
STRAW: For NPR News, I'm Brien Straw in Houston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.