Can one of the worst teams in a championship become three years later the best? Baseball fans had the answer on the night of Wednesday to Thursday, November 2, after the seventh decisive game of the World Series (“World Series” across the Atlantic), opposing Los Angeles mythical franchise Dodgers at the Houston Astros.
Winners 5 to 1 of the seventh and final game, the latter won a first title fifty-five years after their creation. They become the 23e franchise to win the World Series, which opposes every year the winner of the National League and the American League, equivalent of the conferences West and East in the NBA.
The Astros, located in Texas’ most populous city (2.3 million), also became the first Texas franchise to win the World Series, which the Texas Rangers lost in 2010 and 2011. They had previously failed once in the final in 2005, crushed by the Chicago White Sox four wins to zero.
The prophetic “a” of “Sports Illustrated”
But this first was not so unexpected for connoisseurs. In 2014, the magazine Sports illustrated had published this prophetic “one” with a picture of an Astros player: “The champions of the World Series 2017”.
“We chose 2017, explains the author of this bold headline in an article written on October 24, because the Astros youth core would mature at that time, because it seemed to fit more or less with the timing of the leadership – who would go, she promised, with an increase in the payroll – and because three years, in baseball, it’s not nothing. “
The largest American sports magazine was enthusiastic about their detection model and their long-term vision, as explained by Guillaume Badet, host of the page Twitter french fans from the franchise: “The Astros have adopted for several years a strategy of development of young players, spotted everywhere, which bears fruit this year. “
This is how the Astros have, this season, made lie the law of money that often ruthlessly governs professional sports. Unlike the NBA, where franchises have substantially the same payroll despite some derogations, baseball is more unequal.
The Dodgers, a historic franchise founded in Brooklyn in 1883 and already with six titles, have the largest payroll in Major League Baseball (MLB) with approximately $ 265 million. The Astros do not arrive until the 15the rank, just below the league average, with $ 149 million.
“Space city” rather than “Sport city”
If the title of the Astros is a surprise in the American sport, it is because the biggest city Texan is not accustomed to the sporting successes. The Astros are only the second franchise in the city to win the supreme title in one of three major leagues – American football (NFL), baseball (MLB) and basketball (NBA). The Rockets, worn by the fantastic Nigerian-born Hakeem Olajuwon, won the NBA finals twice in 1994 and 1995. If Cleveland had not done even worse, Houston would probably deserve the title of cursed American sport city. .
Another franchise from Houston has already won two titles but in a sport that is not American: the footballers of Dynamo Houston were champions in Major League Soccer in 2006 and 2007. In ice hockey (NHL), there has never been a franchise in Houston but a project exists to create a team in the Texas city.
Really, Houston is not “Sport City” but “Space City”, major pole of American aerospace where NASA has installed its largest center, the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.
Orbit, charming little green man, is also perfectly representative of the specificity of the Texas city moving everywhere in the stadium in a country where mascots are an integral part of the sporting spectacle. A revenant too, since he only regained his status in 2012, at the request of fans of the Astros, while an unsightly rabbit, Junction Jack, had stung his job since 2000.
Other mascots sometimes present in the stands of a stadium formerly sponsored by Enron, the Bush father and son. October 29, in the fifth game of the World Series, George H. W. Bush, 41e American president, appeared in a wheelchair. Since moving to Houston, he has become a fan of the Astros.
His son, 43e President, has, for its part, launched the first ball of the game. He is a fan of the other Texas franchise, the Rangers, which he owned between 1989 and 1994. Not rancorous, the crowd hailed the throwing, rather just technically, of the former resident of the White House. The two former presidents have in any case brought luck to Texas baseball players.