Rally Towel

An Astros rally towel with cups

Final World Series Blog, 2017 Astros Earn History

For the 2017 baseball season, the Houston Astros adopted the theme “Earn History”. The simple phrase showed up on drink cups, t-shirts, rally towels, baseball caps, banners, social media outlets, and more. At the Astro’s Minute Maid Park, two signs explain the theme. One of them is along the labyrinthine, underground tunnel connecting clubhouses and offices. It reads:

What does it really mean to make history? To do something that has never been done. To write your name in the books? There’s only one way—you’ve got to earn it. We’re talking about respect and creating a legacy. So who cares what everyone else says? History won’t remember them. Stay relentless. Unleash greatness and create your own destiny. For Houston, for H-Town, for the H. It’s time to show the world who we are. Earning our place in history together.

Nothing, the message suggests, is a given, and the universe doesn’t owe anyone anything. A person or team or city has to work to succeed, and Houston has certainly done this. The Astros formed in 1962 and in the 55 years of their existence, prior to this year, they had been to the World Series just once. That was in 2005, and they were skunked by the Chicago White Sox, 4-0.

They’ve had other good teams in the past, but never found much postseason success. Besides the Astros, Houston also features two other major American sports franchises—the Rockets of the NBA (basketball) and Titans of the NFL (football). Of these three teams, only the Rockets had ever won a championship, doing so in both 1994 and 1995. Houston sports fans, like those from places like Cleveland and San Diego, spend most years of their lives “waiting ‘til next year”.

This year the Astros were one of the best teams in the major leagues, finishing with 101 wins just four years after they tallied only 51.They did this against the backdrop of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the community with flooding that peaked at 65 inches, destroyed homes across the area and displaced some 30,000 people while taking the lives of 90.

The success of the Astros, in fact, helped rebuild the psyche of the distressed city, giving residents something positive to rally around. Astros players, coaches, and other personnel embraced this role. They added “Houston Strong” patches to their uniforms and posted pictures of the hurricane devastation in the clubhouse as a reminder of the struggle so many Houstonians were going through.

As the Astros recorded the final out of Game 7 tonight to finally win a championship, I thought about the other “Earn History” sign I saw last week in Minute Maid Park, this one on a wall of the Club Level of the stadium, where the media center and exclusive seating options are located. It reads:

Nothing in life comes easy. You have to work for it. Sweat for it. Bleed for it. Dig out every grounder, grind to the last out and treat every play like Game 7 is on the line. We leave everything on the field. Every play, every inning, every game. First ones in. Last ones out. Nothing is free, Everything is earned. We’re here to earn it.

Mission accomplished, Houston. You certainly earned this.

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