HOUSTON (Nexstar) — Ahead of the World Series match-up between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals, the teams have a lot on their plates: D.C.’s team is making its first World Series appearance, and Houston is striving for its second title in three seasons.
“It’s a long time coming,” Astros fan Sammy Villarreal said. He and his wife took the morning off to visit the team store at Minute Maid Park and buy a cap, shirts, and a plush doll of the mascot, Orbit, for his 26 year old daughter.
“Been an Astros fan since the Astrodome days,” he said. “Me and my son come up to all the playoff games, and we were fortunate enough to get tickets.”
“It’s pretty important,” Villarreal said of the team’s deep postseason run. “These guys got a lot of heart.”
The buzz in the air at the ballpark is palpable. A steady stream of fans file in and out of the team store and the players are energized with a chance to play on an international stage.
“It’s always fun to play at home with these fans, so we’re excited to start off here,” Astros 3B Alex Bregman said.
The home field advantage is important for these 25 guys, as they try to keep regular routines amid travel and rollercoaster schedules.
“Not superstitious, I believe in the routine, and that’s how it is — I’ve got my routine, and I stick with my routine, and I do it every day,” Astros SS Carlos Correa said.
That routine includes banana pancakes in the morning, made by his chef. His fiancé, Daniella, who he proposed to after winning the World Series in 2017, also makes the pancakces, but, “the chef’s are slightly better,” he said with a smile.
“Daniella’s are with more love,” he continued.
For Astros 2B José Altuve, dictating the pace helps control the World Series pressure.
“In the World Series, everything happens so quick, so we need to slow things down, and that’s going to help you,” he said.
First pitch of Game 1 is slated for 7:08 p.m. Central Time. Game 2 will be Wednesday, and then the series heads to Washington.