The Houston Astros of 2022 are the best sports team in town, without exception

Just as Yordan Alvarez’s monstrous shot from the racquet, only prevented from orbiting by the stadium structure, landed deep in midfield on Saturday night, our sporting world changed.

Houston’s sports landscape, Houston’s sports fans and Houston’s baseball fanatics will never be the same.

Technically, Alvarez’s sixth inning blast wasn’t a walk-off home run, but it was essentially game over. The World Series was over.

The Astros had beaten the Phillies four games to two, and everyone knew it.

Like a hammer and nail, Alvarez’s incredible Hulk-like homer hammered Astros’ fateful memories into the ground.

From now on, when you think Astros, think Champions. When you talk about Houston and baseball, you’re talking about greatness.

Houston is a champion’s city.

Not just any champion. The 2022 Astros are Houston’s all-time best.

The Astros had everything it takes to be a championship ball club. A dedicated owner, an astute general manager, a master manager and players who are among the best in the business.

The World Series win, which became official when Kyle Tucker caught a foul ball for the finals an hour after Alvarez caused seismic activity in downtown Houston, was unique in Houston sports history.

A Houston team that was expected to win has won. A Houston team that deserved victory won.

There’s an old saying, “If it’s raining at your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain there would be no rainbow.”

That’s ridiculous.

How about a sunny day and a real parade?

That’s what these Astros delivered.

Wait, don’t you think they controlled the weather? OK.

These Astros are something special.

Houston’s reputation as a beautiful city — bigger, no better, where athletes want to live and party, but don’t necessarily play — has been built on decades of disappointment.

There was a time when the Astros, Rockets, Oilers and Cougars seemingly went out of their way to spectacularly hurt Houston sports fans.

Biggest comeback in NFL playoff history? Oilers, Bills, 1993. The Thrush.

The team with the best dunks that went underground in the Final Four? Houston, NC State, 1983. Phi Slama %$#&Damna.

Arguably the most exciting MLB playoff series of all time with four extra-inning games in a row? Astros, Phillies, 1980. Missed Opportunity.

UH kicked off the legend of Joe Montana with a 22-point slump in the second half in a Cotton Bowl known as the Chicken Soup game.

I could go on, but there’s no need to address the pain.

Even Houston’s few successes have been called into question.

The Rockets’ mid-1990s run with Hakeem Olajuwon dominating the Knicks and the Heart of a Champion replay left a serious dent in Choke City. But the NBA returned to its form as Michael Jordan and the Bulls won three straight championships, giving those so inclined a reason to asterisk the Rockets’ two titles.

Around the same time, Houston lost the Oilers. and the Astros continued to be consistent playoff misses in the Killer B era. (Lots of B’s, no A’s.)

The Rockets embarked on a 27-year drought to make it back to the NBA Finals. There’s no end to that anytime soon. They currently have the worst record in the NBA.

The Texans replaced the Oilers as Houston’s woeful newcomer to the NFL, and they were even more embarrassing. They have yet to get to the game before the big game and they currently have the worst record in the NFL.

Visits to NRG Stadium, Toyota Center, TDECU Stadium, and Fertitta Center are on few, if any, bucket lists.

As beautiful as these facilities are, they’re not Wrigley Field or Madison Square Garden or Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Minute Maid Park aside, Houston’s venues are just places where games are played by teams that range from terrible to not-so-great.

Thanks to the Astros’ continued excellence, baseball fans around the world will recognize Minute Maid by sight. You’ve seen wild celebrations set off by spectacular plays by a host of stars.

Springer, Correa, Altuve, Bregman, Gurriel, Alvarez, Tucker, Verlander, Valdez, Javier, Pressly and so on and so on.

In the past five years, the Astros have delivered more drama in nationally televised games than any team in any sport.

In the six seasons since 2017, the Astros have more playoff wins (53) than any other team in baseball, with a whopping 13-game lead over the Dodgers.

Houston had just 21 playoff wins in the franchise’s first 55 years and more than doubled that number in the last six.

Minute Maid has become a place where great baseball is played.

The Astros’ victory at the 2017 World Series meant something for the generations of fans who were there during the first half century, when the Astros were among the least popular teams and were known more for their speckled jerseys than anything associated with it had to do with baseball. (These Tequila Sunrise jerseys were ridiculed by virtually everyone whose zip code didn’t start with 770.)

The 2022 title is a salute to greatness.

There was a lot of love among this year’s Astros. A lot of passion was put into this year’s Astros. And there was so much talent at the 2022 Astros.

No team in Houston sports history had a combination like this and delivered on its promise.

These Astros are the best team Houston has ever had.

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