Today in 2017, just two days after winning their first World Series, the Houston Astros were celebrated in a Downtown victory parade and rally at City Hall. Sure, Houston had seen previous championship parades (Rockets, Comets), but this one was different. Houston Independent School District, fearing faculty and staff would be no-shows, cancelled classes so all could cheer the champion baseball team. Hours before the parade, Downtown parking garages were overflowing with eager fans. And even though that Friday was unseasonably warm, no one seemed to notice or care. Starting before noon, a seemingly endless wave of Houstonians in Astros orange filled Downtown streets, forcing the parade route to be extended a few blocks. The anticipation was as thick as the humidity. Players, coaches and everyone in the Astros family rode on firetrucks, greeted by an estimated 750,000 jubilant fans, some who had waited fifty-six years to see Houston win it all. Orange and blue confetti showered down. Grown men wept seeing Astros Hall of Famers Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell ride by, waving to the crowd; championship rings had eluded both in their storied careers. Notably absent was new Astros pitcher Justin Verlander, who was en route to his own wedding. The parade ended on the steps of City Hall, where the team was greeted by local and state elected officials, eager to be photographed with the Houston heroes. All made short speeches, and the World Series trophy was hoisted high for everyone to see. More confetti flew. The party lasted into the night, with Downtown bars overflowing with happy fans still clinging to rally signs. Well into the weekend, high-rises kept their celebratory messages spelled out in lit windows, and City Hall remained illuminated in Astros orange for days.

James Glassman