By the time you are reading this, this year’s World Series could be history.
As I submit it on Friday afternoon, the National League’s Washington Nationals have suggested they deserve to be champions of Major League Baseball after two convincing victories over the American League’s Houston Astros, wins they took at the Astros’ home field.
The series now goes to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. for three games, and if Washington wins two, it’s all over. It’s the first time the Nats have been in the fall classic and their fans are plenty excited about it.
I wish I could say I am happy for them, but I am a diehard Houston Astros fan and I am not that magnanimous. Also, my NL team is the Atlanta Braves, who won the NL East Division, four games ahead of the Nationals at season’s end.
The Nats got in postseason play by winning the Wild Card spot, going on to win the NL pennant.
So you’ll excuse me if I’m not congratulating them.
I’ve previously written in this space about my fondness for the Astros — how I visited their former home stadium, the Astrodome, with my family as a young boy and picked them as my team; the lean years I endured as a fan of a team that often found itself in the cellar; and the emotions I felt after they won the World Series two years ago.
Last year, when they were in the American League Championship Series playing the Boston Red Sox, I wrote about flying to Houston to see one of the games at Minute Maid Park. Alas, it was the deciding game in that series and the Red Sox won.
Getting to see a postseason MLB game in person, however, will always be one of my favorite experiences as a sports fan.
It should come as no surprise that one of my longtime wish list items is going to a World Series game, preferably one in which the Astros are playing.
This could have been the year. The Astros won the ALCS in six games and it was typical postseason excitement. Going into the top of the ninth, the Astros were leading 4-2, but the Yankees tied it up.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth and looking like it would go to extra innings, and with a runner on second, Jose Altuve hit a walk-off homerun. Just like that the Astros won the game, the series and the AL pennant.
My older son, well aware of my affinity for the ‘Stros, sent me a text message shortly thereafter saying, “Let’s get tix,” meaning we should try to go to the World Series.
Ideally, we would have gone to Houston for games 1 or 2 on Tuesday or Wednesday, but work schedules for both of us did not allow it. We decided to try to make it to DC this weekend.
It was a short-lived dream. After-market tickets, standing room only, were in the 800-dollar range early in the week. It was easily going to cost a thousand dollars for one ticket if I wanted a seat.
And I did want a seat. I’m a fan, but I’m not going to go and stand, with throngs of other folks likely crammed next to me. And certainly not for 800 bucks.
Today as I write this, the standing room tickets are well over a thousand dollars and I would have to pay a couple hundred more for a seat. I suppose that’s because the Nats could win it all this weekend. Washington fans have waited a long time for this and the anticipation is driving up ticket prices.
My son and I called it Thursday night, deciding we had been outpriced.
Whether the Nationals have already won it as you are reading, or Houston won a couple in Washington and it’s still going on, I’m still happy.
During the past three seasons, the Astros have more than redeemed themselves for the agony I endured over the years after I claimed them as my team when I was eight years old.
MLB teams play a grueling 162-game season. It’s a long haul, through ups and downs, thrills and disappointments.
And that’s just for me as a fan. Think of what it must be like for the players.
I can hardly complain about a team that’s been in postseason the past three years and in the World Series two of those.
I’ll add a postscript next week if the Astros pull this thing out. For now, I’ll say thanks to my team for another great season, and I’ll see you in the spring.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.