2017 World Series: Thousands celebrate Houston Astros' first title in downtown parade

By The Sports Xchange  |  Nov. 3, 2017 at 7:11 PM
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Houston Astros standout pitcher Dallas Keuchel had something he wanted to ask the thousands of fans lined outside City Hall on Friday who came to celebrate with the new World Series champions.

He surveyed the scene, squeezed the microphone and asked, "Houston, what the hell took us so long to win a World Series?"

A good question that now has a definite answer after the Astros won their first championship in their 56th season of competition by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series.

More than 500,000 people lined the streets for a downtown parade on a muggy 86-degree day, just two-plus months since Hurricane Harvey ravaged the city.

It was a time of celebration and enjoyment for the folks of Houston, and a time in which Astros manager A.J. Hinch wanted no part of the obvious question:

Will the Astros visit the White House if invited by President Donald Trump?

"We just won the first world championship in Houston Astros history," manager A.J. Hinch told reporters. "We're also in one of the most divided countries, polarizing countries in politics.

"I don't know that this is the best stage for everybody to declare one way or the other and try to comment on the moment and be too much of a political statement."

There was somebody missing during all the pomp and pageantry.

Ace pitcher Justin Verlander not only wasn't in Houston, he isn't even in the country. Verlander is reportedly in Italy preparing to marry supermodel Kate Upton.

Keuchel made note of Verlander's absence during his time with the mic.

"There is one member of our team not with us today," Keuchel said. "He hasn't really done much so I want to give a little shout-out. I want you guys to tell me how much Justin Verlander means to this team."

A round of hearty cheers ensued, rivaling those that serenaded the stage area when World Series MVP George Springer was announced.

"Houston, we have a championship team and no one can take that away from us," Springer exclaimed.

The star outfielder hit five homers in the World Series to match the record shared by Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009). He took note of how the Astros received a lack of respect from naysayers en route to their title.

"I remember back when we got beat by New York in New York, that we weren't supposed to win, how did that work out?" Springer said. "I got told before Game 7 (in Los Angeles) that apparently we didn't have a chance, how did that work out?

"It's about time we brought something home for the great city of Houston."

Probable American League MVP Jose Altuve had to be prodded to say a few words ... and he followed by saying a few words.

"Thank you!" Altuve said. "We are champions!"

Hinch encouraged the fans to savor the moment and understand what it means in the city's sports history.

"We're going to be forever linked as a championship city because of 2017," said Hinch, "so don't forget where you were when we made that last out and we became the 2017 World Series champions."

The Astros' title represents the city's first major professional sports title since the Hakeem Olajuwon-led Houston Rockets won back-to-back NBA titles in 1994-95.

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