Before Wednesday night, it had been 15 years -- since the Anaheim Angels in 2002 -- that a Major League franchise won its first ever World Series. Game 7 of the 2017 World Series gave us another one. The Houston Astros, around since 1962, have won the Fall Classic after an incredible Series that ended with a gutty 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night. Before Wednesday, only eight Major League Baseball franchises had never won a championship. Now there are seven. The Houston Astros have done it.
It is perfectly understandable that an Astros fan would be still walking around in a daze, stunned, totally incapable of a coherent thought. Many of us have been there: We know how it goes. A World Series victory rewires your whole brain circuitry. You've never gone through this before. So, mirthful, giddy Astros fan, here is a guide to what you can expect, now that your team, your beloved team, has finally won a World Series. Your life is never going to be the same.
When asked to think of a number, for the rest of your life, the first number to pop into your head will be "2017." No matter what else happened this year -- and obviously, plenty happened in Houston this year -- you will always remember this as the year the Astros won the World Series. (Ask Cubs fans about 2016.) You will do this with everything. You will meet other people's children, and when you hear their age, you'll reflexively run it through your brain to determine if they were born before or after 2017. Whatever your age is personally, your life is now divided into two halves: Before 2017, and after 2017. Don't pick it as your ATM pin code, though. If you are robbed, and the pickpocket sees that you are from Houston, he will immediately be able to guess it.
Nov. 1 is a holiday now. For the rest of your life, the day after Halloween is going to be an anniversary. An old friend of mine who is a White Sox fan watches the Sox's Game 4 victory over your Astros every Oct. 26. You can -- and you should -- do the same thing, every Nov. 1 until you die. Oh, and speaking of things you can't stop watching …
You'll never stop watching every highlight and every interview, for the next week. You know how stressful it was watching this insane World Series all the way through Game 7? That stress is now gone! All the sad things that happened in this series are now simply backstory; all the happy things … predestined! You will become addicted to watching the best clips from all of these games, particularly the end of Game 7 and every great thing that happened at Minute Maid Park, where the crowd was as loud as any baseball stadium I've ever heard. You will also do this for the rest of your life as well. You probably haven't watched a physical DVD in years, but you will still buy the complete DVD of this series. Also: The players for the Astros are about to become the most compelling human beings you've ever met. You will be hanging on their every word for the next week, no matter who they are. (The 2006 World Series made me briefly think Jeff Weaver was cool.)
You'll be seeing every player on this roster forever too. The big, young names like George Springer and Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa (who proposed on national TV after it was all over!) and Alex Bregman will be around for the next decade, but it doesn't matter: Every player who appeared in this World Series will be hovering around Minute Maid Park until the Earth crashes into the sun. When any game is broadcast, or when there's a round-number anniversary, or when local car dealerships need to signal-boost a sale, or just went there's a free beer to be had, they will be there.
All your friends will claim they were at Game 5. Make them show you their ticket stub. They're lying.
You'll regret not going to the parade if you don't go. If you're in Houston, your boss better let you off work. If you're not in Houston, you need to fly in. Watching it on TV is insufficient. There is nothing like being this happy around hundreds of thousands of people who are exactly as happy as you are. Do it.
You will buy everything with an Astros logo on it for the next few months. Seriously, just give in: You will not be able to resist. Let us get you started by directing you to the MLB Shop. One of my best friends actually bought Chicago Cubs World Series wristbands. Wristbands! The dude is a banker; I don't think he has worn wristbands since he was four years old. But he bought them! He bought everything! You're about to do the same thing. The good part of this: You are about to be extremely easy to shop for this holiday season.
You now have your 2017 holiday card theme. Just a picture of you and your loved ones in Astros gear. One less thing to be stressed out about this year.
You will hear from old friends you haven't heard from in years, and they will be so happy for you. Whenever you feel down about the world, remember how many people contacted you, after your team won the World Series, just to tell you how happy they were for you when you won the World Series. They will all come out of the woodwork, from all periods of your life, just because they are seeing so many happy people, and they will remember that you are an Astros fan, and they just wanted to tell you that they were thinking about how happy you are. It's nice.
You will not want next season to start. Ordinarily, Spring Training is a renewal, a reminder that baseball is coming back to save us. But when your team has just won the World Series, all Spring Training stands for is 29 teams trying to take away your championship. It's yours: It's your precious.
You won't actually be that upset if the Astros don't win the title next year. Imagine how sad you have been if the Astros would have lost this series. Pretty sad, right? Well, next year, if the Astros don't win the World Series, it will be fine. You'll be cheering for them, of course. But there will be undeniably less urgency. A World Series will sate you, for at least one year, anyway. By 2019, you'll be ready to get another one. But 2018 is going to be stress free. It's all house money.
They can never take this away from you. Someday, the Astros will not be good. Every team has an ebb and flow. The Astros are at a peak, but eventually, they will struggle. They will lose a ton of games. They will get your hopes up only to dash them. They will break your heart. This is what sports does.
But this is the payoff! All those years of caring about your team, all those years of living and dying with them, all those years of sharing them your family and your loved ones, never knowing if it would be worth it, never knowing if this day would come … it has come. It was all worth it. The moment you were waiting for finally happened. You invest your mind and your soul with a sports team without ever having any assurance that they will repay you for all you have given them, for all your emotional capital, for all that pain. Astros fans had to wonder if it would ever happen, and with good reason: There was no guarantee it ever would.
Now it has. The Astros may never win another World Series, or maybe they will win a dozen. In a way, it doesn't really matter. You had this one. You had tonight. It was all worth it, wasn't it? It was worth every single second.
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