NEW YORK– Greatness in Houston, Texas. A perennial juggernaut in all phases of the game, a force to be reckoned with from April to November, and, most importantly, World Series Champions, can best describe the 2022 Houston Astros.
“This is the greatest bunch of guys,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “They told me in spring training that they were going to win. Now, what’s next? Party.”
This past Monday afternoon, the Astros capped off their historic season with a World Series championship parade in downtown Houston. As more than one million fans attended with glory in their veins, the streets of Houston became a sea of orange and blue.
Fans dressed in all sorts of Astros attire, savored the moment, cheering, recording the festivities. Many even climbed up trees, metro stops, and alternative barriers in hopes of catching a better view. And yes, several ‘We Want Houston’ chants roared in retaliation towards the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees fan bases, who were heckling for the respective matchups weeks ago.
Nonetheless, throughout their quest for a second World Series title in franchise history, Houston demonstrated what postseason baseball is all about. At the plate, a contact level hitting approach, complemented with a blend of the home run ball. On the mound, minimizing the amount of base runners allowed, trusting the defense behind you, and ‘painting’ the corners in the strike zone. Lastly, flashing the leather on defense with game-saving heroics, not catering opponents into extra scoring opportunities.
A winning combination as Houston finished 11-2 this postseason, with their only two losses coming in the Fall Classic. All under the helm of Dusty Baker, who became the oldest manager in MLB history to win a World Series Championship (73 years old).
“Well, I’m just grateful, really, for the trials and tribulations that you go through in order to get to this and just grateful for my mom and dad for being tough on me,” Baker said. “Also grateful for some of the enemies that helped motivate me to get to this point, you know what I mean? You know, with no malice or anything because that doesn’t do any good.”
Rookie superstar Jeremy Peña (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), was named the World Series MVP, batting .400 with one HR, and three RBI in the Fall Classic. Peña became the first player in MLB history to win the Championship Series MVP and World Series MVP in a single postseason.
“Man, it’s special,” Peña said with the Dominican Republic flag wrapped around him. “Man, I can’t even put it into words right now, but shoutout to my Dominican people.”
“It has a lot to do with my family, my upbringing,” he added.
But, to go further on the successful recipe brewing in Houston. This postseason, the Astros offense slashed .233/.302/.389 with 17 home runs and 53 runs scored. Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javiar, fortified the starting rotation, combining for 74 strikeouts in 11 games pitched. And the bullpen? One of the most dominant we have ever witnessed, recording the lowest bullpen ERA (0.83) in a single postseason (minimum 35 innings pitched).
An abundance of Latin talent played major roles in the Astros (4-2) World Series victory over Philadelphia. Fifteen Latino players from the Astros cemented their legacies with this year’s World Series Championship. Provided below are the players and where they are from.
Dominican Republic: Bryan Abreu, Cristian Javier, Héctor Neris, Framber Valdez, Rafael Montero, Jeremy Peña
Cuba: Yuli Gurriel, Aledmys Díaz, Yordan Álvarez
Puerto Rico: Christian Vázquez, Martin Maldonado
Venezuela: Luis Garcia, José Altuve (2017 American League LatinoMVP)
Mexico: José Urquidy
Honduras: Mauricio Dubón
Riding on six consecutive American League Championship Series appearances, four trips to the Fall Classic and two World Series championships in that span, the Astros are on baseball’s top pedestal. Perhaps, we’ll see a Houston parade next season, or even, for many years to come.
“I said if I won one, I want to win two,” Baker said when asked what’s next.
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Robert Rizzo writes for Latino Sports
Follow on Twitter: @RobertRiz994
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