Nationals pull off thrilling World Series win Photo credit: Dana Nichols

Photo by Dana Nichols

Major League Baseball (MLB) fans across the nation — including several Trinity students — watched on the edge of their seats as the Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series to clinch their first ever championship.

Trinity’s campus sits just 197 miles from Minute Maid Park in Houston, making the Astros a de-facto home team for many as the closest MLB franchise to San Antonio.

The Astros, champions of the American League, made it to the World Series for the second time in the past three years. The Astros opened the series with two stunning home losses in Minute Maid Park to the Nationals, who made it to the World Series after sneaking into the playoffs as the National League Wild Card. Native Houstonian and first-year student Bonnie Lloyd had trouble watching the second half of Game 2 that quickly got away from the Astros and put them down two games in the series.

“[Game two] was hard to watch. I’m one of those people who’s like, ‘I will watch ’til the end of the game,’ [but] I had to stop. At the top of the ninth, I was like, ‘That’s enough. We’re gonna watch ‘Big Bang Theory,’” Lloyd said.

Despite the rocky start for the Astros, Lloyd looked forward to Game 3 and the rest of the series.

“I’m hopeful. They’ve been known to come back fighting, and I hope they do that,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd is not the only Astros fan who still held hope after the distressing result of Game 2. First-year Jacob Muñoz, a more casual baseball fan who had been cheering for the Astros, explained his optimism about the Astros’s chances.

“The best part about professional sports is that it’s never really a given that one team is going to win. So regardless of being down by two games, there’s definitely still [a] chance for [the Astros] to win the World Series. It ain’t over until the fourth game is won, and there’s been plenty of notable comebacks,” Muñoz said.

The students’ optimism was temporarily rewarded. The Astros defeated the Nationals three consecutive times in Washington, reinvigorating the hope that the Astros would take home their second World Championship title. However, the Astros still would have to win one more game back in Houston cap the come back and defeat the underdog Nationals.

“Obviously, it’s a lot more evenly matched than people had thought. I went into it [the World Series] thinking it wouldn’t be an easy win. If you’ve seen what the Nationals have done this post-season, they’ve killed it,” Lloyd said.

The Nationals’ surprising post-season came after a disappointing 1931 record to start the 2019 season. Washington’s miraculous comeback earned them a spot in the Wild Card game where they beat the Milwaukee Brewers. From there they never looked back, upsetting the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals on their way to a National League pennant.

“They were underdogs. Everyone was saying that there was no reason to play the wild-card game because whoever won would just get swept by the Dodgers, and there was no reason to play the Dodgers. But they’re hot right now, and a very important part of winning the World Series is getting hot at the right time and they’re definitely hot at the right time,” said junior David Styles, another Astros fan and Houston native.

After the home team lost each of the first six games, the Nationals managed to keep the unusual and historic trend going by winning Game 7 on the road and winning their first ever World Series title. This was the first time in professional sports history that the road team won all seven games of a series.

Astros fans on campus were disappointed with the series outcome, especially the Astros’ performance in Game 7.

“I think there’s a major issue with leaving 10 to 12 runners stranded on base in one game. When you have two runners in scoring position, there’s no excuse for not bringing them in,” Lloyd said.

Despite their disappointment, fans were able to appreciate the hard work put in by both teams.

“It’ll be good to see what [the Astros] do next season. I would rather we lose to a team like this, where they really dug it out and really played neck and neck,” Lloyd said. “I feel like we’ve been where [the Nationals] were.”

While the Nationals popped champagne, the Astros were left looking back on another successful season that fell just short.

“At least we beat the Yankees,” Lloyd said.