My favorite baseball team, the Houston Astros, is playing in the World Series. I am writing this Friday night during Game 1 of the best-of-seven series against the Philadelphia Phillies, who squeaked into postseason play in the Wild Card position but have played spectacularly since doing so.
The Astros have become a regular in postseason play and have been to the World Series four of the past six seasons.
They won it in 2017, but there is a huge virtual asterisk by their name due to a cheating scandal uncovered the following year. That year, 2018, Wife, Younger Son and I went to the ALCS (American League Championship Series) in Houston to see them play the Red Sox, and they lost. That was my first and only time to see postseason play, and it was a lot of fun, even with the loss.
Not long after that, however, all the stuff about the cheating came out and was verified. This broke my heart, and had I known about it beforehand, I would probably not have gone to that game.
I was bitterly disappointed and angry over the cheating scandal. I had followed the Astros since I was eight years old, and I felt betrayed and robbed.
They went back to the fall classic in '19 and lost to the Nationals, and in '21 when they lost to the Braves (which pleased everyone in my family except me).
It took me a couple of years to get over the cheating scandal and fully forgive them. But the truth is I've never been one to hold a grudge. I'm back as a fan.
I thought the Astros would surely hit the skids as an organization after it was revealed what happened in '17, but thanks to manager Dusty Baker, some key players who stayed around and some others they were able to acquire, they've remained a force to be reckoned with. This year was remarkable as they led the AL West the entire season and won it decisively.
Long story short: I'm boarding a plane for Houston tomorrow (Saturday) morning and will meet my two sons for World Series Game 2. I don't like the term "bucket list" because I think it's an overused buzz phrase, but this definitely fulfills a desire I've had for a long time -- to go to a World Series game. And going to see my favorite team play makes it even sweeter.
The Phillies just won Game 1, so we're not off to a good start. But tomorrow will be great no matter the outcome.