Mandatory Credit: Photo by ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13610397bu) Houston Astros pitcher Ryan Pressly celebrates after defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in game six to win the World Series at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, USA, 05 November 2022. MLB Philaldephia Phillies at Houston Astros, USA – 05 Nov 2022
Fred Faour: The Astros are Houston’s family. And they are World Champions once more
Celebrate, Houston. Your family has done it again.
When the final out was recorded, the Astros clinched their second World Series in six years, winning 4-1 to close out the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.
It was classic Astros. Falling behind in a pitcher’s duel 1-0 in the sixth inning, they immediately answered in the bottom of the inning with a massive Yordan Alvarez three-run homer that gave the team a 3-1 lead. Christian Vazquez added a two out single to make it 4-1.
They got there because Framber Valdez kept them in it with a pitching performance for the ages. And that man, Jeremy Pena, the World Series MVP, helped set the table for Alvarez’s incredible, majestic, unforgettable blast.
The city erupted. Hugs in the stands. Hugs in the bars. Tears. High fives. The Astros brought everyone together in a magical ride that ended in pure joy, with all Houstonians becoming a family, proud parents to the joyous kids who won it all.
And that is what baseball is all about. Family.
As with all families, there are issues. The high of winning in 2017, followed by the low of losing in 2019 with a 3-2 lead. Then the cheating scandal. Everyone outside Houston now hated the Astros. They still do.
This family does not care. They are savoring the moment together, and rest assured, these moments are rare.
Family can mean a lot of things. For Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, it meant winning a $75 million dollar bet, enabling Houstonians to get free furniture. Giving back to a community that has become family. When he went viral for responding to an obnoxious Philly fan, the family rallied around him.
For the Astros players and steady, fatherly owner Jim Crane, Saturday’s win was redemption. It confirmed their love for the city and the city’s love for them.
Jose Altuve, the favorite son. Alex Bregman, the fun kid. The unflappable Pena, the new kid on the block. Alvarez, the big, protective brother who came through when it mattered most. Justin Verlander, the older, glamorous brother. Valdez, the quiet one. Heroes to the city, along with their teammates.
All creating unforgettable memories. Sports moments like this one also remind us of the people we can no longer share it with. Baseball more than any sport is where triumphs like Saturday not only celebrate the moment, but harken back to other times, other memories.
For me, moments like these are about my father, also named Fred Faour. He spent 29 years at the Houston Chronicle as an editor in the sports department, where we worked together for many years. After any big Astros, Rockets, Oilers or UH moment, we would talk every time. Many days, it was while we were working to produce the Chronicle, but if we were off, one thing always came to mind.
Call your dad.
Of course, many times he would beat me to the call. We would break down everything, the good and bad. When the Astros won in 2017, he was the first person I thought of and wanted to call. He loved the Houston teams he covered, and loved to see them succeed.
But “Big Fred” as we called him, passed away in 1997. Even after 20 years, my first instinct was, you guessed it.
Call your dad.
Now, 25 years later, it is the same. I wish we could talk about these Astros and their resiliency. Of Dusty Baker’s steady guidance. Of Crane’s brilliant ownership. Mack’s exploits. Alvarez’s soul-stealing home run. I wish I could tell him how a city he spent most of his life chronicling sports came together for another amazing moment – as a family.
So do not take this for granted. Share this moment with your real family. Your Astros family. Your friends. Do not be ashamed of those hugs, tears, smiles, high fives. This is what sports is all about.
Call your dad. Your mom. Your brothers. Your sisters. Savor every bit of it.
These moments do not come along very often, and they give us memories we should never forget. They should also remind us of those who would have loved to celebrate, too.
Call your dad.
I wish I could. While 2017 will always be my favorite moment – it was the first championship, after all, and Harvey – this one is just as sweet. I wrote about Big Fred then for another site. Nothing has changed for me since then.
It reminds me of all the great Astros moments he did not miss. Like Mike Scott’s no-hitter in 1986 to send the Astros to the playoffs for just the third time in their history. I was fortunate enough to attend that game, because my dad got me tickets. He was working that day, so I went to the office after so we could talk about it. Most of the other memories were disappointing, but Big Fred was always there.
The heartbreaking Game 6 loss to the Mets that year to end the season.
Call your dad.
Even in 1980, when these same Phillies rallied to beat the Astros and go to the World Series. That, too, was devastating. We talked about it anyway. And the loss to the Dodgers the next year.
The Astros would not make the playoffs again before his death. He missed the Bagwell/Biggio run, and now this one. I can imagine the conversations we would have had then and in 2017. And now, 2022. He would have been so proud of this moment. A city coming together. People who would never talk otherwise hugging and high-fiving. Becoming a family.
That is what these Astros have given us – a family. Embrace each other, Houston. Never take it for granted. Hugs and high fives all around.
I wish I could call my dad and talk about how awesome this run has been. About Alvarez’s home run.
He would have loved it. Just like you.
You hit this out of the park Fred. Excellent article!
Great read Freddie. Fred would be proud. He was one of a kind and a awesome person and friend.