HOUSTON, Texas — The fresh scent of newly cut grass infiltrates your nose the moment you step into the grand structure of Minute Maid Park. The heat from the towering lights above glow with an intensity that excites the nerves. As you glance at the faces before you, you can’t help but notice the adrenaline that flows within the veins of every baseball fan.
With the stage set after 162 regular-season games and a mounting quest through the postseason, two teams with a desire to prove themselves worthy of greatness will duel it out on baseball’s biggest stage.
The Houston Astros were the first to clinch their way to the Fall Classic after defeating the Boston Red Sox in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. The team has plastered their abilities to reach and obtain a World Series since winning their first World Series in 2017. The days of pitting themselves to the bottom of the division are long gone, nothing short of a division title and a far journey into the postseason has proven the Astros as the most threatening team in baseball.
“It’s really special to be here once again with this group of guys,” Carlos Correa said on the eve of the World Series. “Like I said before, I don’t take any single second of this year for granted. It’s just special to share the locker room with that group of guys that we have in there. They show up every single day ready to work. They show up every day, and they work like champions. We’re here four wins away to become world champions once again. We want to go out there, make it special, and hopefully win it all.”
The Astros will put their trust into the hands of Palenque, Dominican Republic native Framber Valdez, who has found his niche in the Astros postseason rotation. In his last outing in Game 5 of the ALCS, Framber helped secure a series lead for the Astros, after leading with eight relentless innings and surrendering a lone run on three hits and five strikeouts.
“It’s something I never thought about, to be honest, as a kid,” Framber said the day before he takes the World Series mound. “I didn’t know what it meant, but when I started getting involved in baseball and realizing how impactful it was for youth just on and off the field, that’s when I started dying wishing to be part of the postseason, to be part of the team, and obviously to be an opener and to be a starter in the World Series.”
Only a small amount of people believed the Atlanta Braves would shimmy their way into the World Series. An even smaller number expected them to reach the Fall Classic after losing Ronald Acuña Jr. to a season-ending ACL injury and the absence of Marcell Ozuna. But none shots that were fired to bring this team down could decimate their chances of making the World Series.
Like puzzle pieces, Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos picked up talent that was lightly placed on everyone’s radar and scattered to put the available prospects on his roster before the trade deadline, creating a picture that is now hanging majestically before our eyes.
One of those puzzle pieces was the graceful talent of Eddie Rosario, a Guayama, Puerto Rico native, who has spent the majority of his seven-year career in the Twin Cities as a member of the Minnesota Twins.
The postseason is not something that was new to Rosario when crossing over to the National League and becoming an Atlanta Brave. But the Rosario who hoisted the NLCS MVP trophy Saturday night is most certainly an Eddie Rosario we’ve never seen before. And, we’re here for it.
“This was something I’ve been dreaming for my entire life,” Rosario said as he awaits to make a bigger contribution in the World Series as he did in the Championship Series. “It never stopped because I think I always had faith in myself. I believe in my ability. It had to happen this way. I think this sort of opportunity had to present itself, and I had to be in this moment for everything to happen the way it did.”
The Braves core that has worn the uniform in devastating defeats and falling short of the World Series are beaming with a glow that allows you to fall in love with the game all over again. Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and Dansby Swanson are all hungry to step up into the batter’s box and embrace the prized possession, the World Series trophy.
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