In late June 2014, Sports Illustrated published a cover of George Springer in the newly minted orange Houston Astros throwback uniform.
The magazine predicted the then-last-place team would be the 2017 World Series Champions and were widely ridiculed by most baseball fans despite the quiet support of many statisticians.
But they were right.
Not only did the Astros win the World Series Wednesday after a historically action-packed seven-game series, but George Springer was named World Series MVP.
Popular culture has long been stacked against the Astros, who joined the American League West in 2013.
In a bizarre cybersecurity scandal in winter of 2016, the Astros’ baseball intelligence databases were hacked by the St. Louis Cardinals in an attempt to steal valuable information about player evaluations and decisions from former scout Jeff Luhnow, who had left to become general manager of the Astros.
The hacking of Houston was unlike anything ever seen in sports, just like the amount of young talent on this year’s Astros roster.
The stars of the team consisted of over five first-round draft picks, including 2012 first overall pick Carlos Correa. Upon winning the World Series, Correa proposed to his girlfriend right in the post-game celebration, giving a further fairytale ending to a championship year that began with tragedy.
Both Correa’s native Puerto Rico and the city of Houston suffered major hurricanes during the middle of baseball season around September.
This created enormous humanitarian and economic crises in both cities.
Correa, as well as fellow Puerto Rican and veteran Astro Carlos Beltran and many in the overall Houston organization, teamed up with relief funds and nonprofits to provide over $2 million in support to areas impacted by the hurricanes.
The joy of championships in professional sports leaves a wide resounding impact on their population and fans for generations.
This was present in the long-lusted-after victory of the Chicago Cubs last year and is present again now in the victory parade attended by thousands in the heart of Houston.