Tag Archives: Houston Astros

This award transcends athletic prowess

I cannot stop smiling when I think of this news item.

J.J. Watt and Jose Altuve have been named Sports Illustrated’s co-Sportspersons of the Year.

Why does this bring a broad smile to my face?

For starters, Watt — a standout All-Pro defensive end for the Houston Texans — hasn’t played a lot of football this calendar year; he has been injured. He did, however, step up in a big way to help Houston’s beleaguered residents recover from the battering delivered by Hurricane Harvey this past summer.

Watt helped raise more than $37 million for hurricane relief. He became the voice and the face of Houston’s still ongoing battle to rebuild after being inundated by record-breaking rainfall that Harvey brought with it.

And then there’s Jose Altuve, the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 2017. He had a stellar season for the World Series champions. However, SI decide to honor both young men because Altuve, too, embodied the “Houston Strong” motto that has helped fuel the city’s recovery from Harvey’s wrath.

As the Associated Press reported: “I think the World Series gave the people a big smile and hope during the tough time they were getting through,” he said. “And I feel really happy that we did it because they really deserved it.”

For those of us who have grieved along with the Texas Gulf Coast residents affected by nature’s intense power, this award sends a heartfelt message that professional athletes — who often receive their share of criticism for their off-the-field antics — are quite capable of exhibiting heart and compassion to those who are struggling.

Indeed, many professional athletes have done much to lend their high profiles to worthy and noble efforts. This award should be seen as a statement of thanks for all the good work that these men and women do when most of aren’t looking.

Sports Illustrated chose well.

When did WH visit become an issue for champs?

I have long thought that when a sports team wins a national championship a White House visit at the invitation of the president was a done deal. No questions asked. Nothing to consider. Let’s just go and have fun!

No longer … I guess.

The Golden State Warriors won the National Basketball Association title this past season. They balked at attending a White House ceremony over disputes with Donald J. Trump and his criticism of on-field protests by pro football players. The president then disinvited the Warriors.

Now we have the Houston Astros, who’ve just won the World Series.

Astros Manager A.J. Hinch says the team will decide later whether to attend a White House ceremony to commemorate their stirring victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Eh? When did this become a discussion point? Oh, I know. It became one about the time Trump became president and continued his campaign of divisiveness, anger and rancor.

He’s managed to alienate professional athletes because he throws his presidential weight around over issues that usually don’t concern presidents of the United States.

Now it appears the World Series champs are going to take their time to decide whether to accept a White House invitation.

Bizarre.

Houston, you have reason to cheer

I’ll get this off my chest right off the top: I am not a huge fan of the Houston Astros, who’ve just won the 2017 World Series of baseball.

I am, however, cheering mightily — if quietly at this late hour — for the city of Houston, which has suffered grievously at the hand of Mother Nature.

Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston, along with the Golden Triangle, where my family and I lived for nearly 11 years before we moved to the High Plains of Texas. We have many friends in Beaumont and in Houston.

They’ve been through hell, along with millions of other Gulf Coast residents.

Tonight, though, they are smiling because the Astros won the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros have won the first Series in franchise history. That’s a 55-year drought!

Houston needs this win to help lift its spirits. It is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Harvey’s wrath. Tonight, though, my guess is that the daunting recovery seems a little less so as Houston and Gulf Coast baseball fans celebrate the Astros’ biggest win in their history.

How ’bout them Astros!

This year’s World Series is going to carry very special meaning to one of the cities represented in Major League Baseball’s championship event.

I’m talking about Houston, Texas, from where the Houston Astros hail. They won the American League pennant with a stirring seventh-game victory over the New York Yankees.

OK, here goes. I’m going to pull extra hard for the Astros to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Fall Classic.

Houston has been through Hell on Earth since Hurricane Harvey inundated the nation’s fourth-largest city under 50 inches of rain that fell over a 24-hour period. The heartbreak and cataclysmic misery felt throughout Houston defies description.

Indeed, as the Astros and the Dodgers prepare for the World Series, the city is still seeking to reconstruct itself. Its millions of residents are trying to make sense of their lives upended by the deluge.

My heart usually rests with the American League team as it is. I grew up rooting hard for the New York Yankees. I was a Mickey Mantle-worshiping kid. Indeed, I truly enjoyed big-league baseball long before the Age of Free Agency changed the game forever by giving players opportunities to move from team to team — which they have done with stunning regularity for the four-plus decades since free agency became the vogue in MLB.

I used to follow the careers of players who stayed with one team their entire career: Ted Williams (Red Sox), Stan Musial (Cardinals), Roberto Clemente (Pirates), Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles), Tony Gwynn (Padres).

I long have watched the Astros compete in the National League. Then they switched to the AL, which means the Astros are the first big-league franchise in baseball history to compete for the World Series crown representing both major leagues; they were swept a few years ago by the Chicago White Sox.

Here we are. In the moment. Houston has suffered terribly from the savage beating delivered by nature’s wrath. Its residents are in dire need of something to cheer.

A World Series title by the Houston Astros would be the nearly perfect tonic for a city in deep distress.