OK, I’ll admit I’m a little biased when it comes to this (alright a lot) since I’ve been waiting my whole life for the Astros to win a World Series, but as a kid who was born in Israel and raised in Houston, I can’t help but notice how much this year’s team mirrors Israel and what it stands for. I’ve pretty much spent the past week watching YouTube video after video of highlights and fan celebrations, but now that I’ve calmed down, lets take a look at why the Astros are the most Jewish, and not just because a nice Jewish boy named Alex Bregman plays 3rd base, but the most Israeli team of all time.
First off, we should take a look at who they fought and vanquished on their way to victory: Boston, New York, and Los Angeles (you’re welcome rest of America). Those three teams have the highest payrolls in baseball while Houston is 15th. Basically you have a bunch of rich bullies who unless you are from those places, no one really likes, picking on the poor new kid on the block. Narrative sound familiar? All you basically need is to tie the other payrolls to oil money and you can just go ahead and put a falafel stand at Minute Maid Park where the Astros play.
Now lets take a look who makes up the team. The first baseman, Yuli Gurriel, is a rookie 33 yr. old Cuban refugee. The 2nd baseman, Jose Altuve, is a 5’5 pipsqueak who was told not to come back to tryouts his second day because he was too little and is now the MVP of the league. The shortstop, Carlos Correa, was the valedictorian of his high school in Puerto Rico, and told his parents he needed to learn English because he wanted to be able to do interviews in the U.S. knowing he would go play there. The 3rd baseman, Alex Bregman, (as mentioned earlier) is a Jewish kid from Albuquerque, NM who could barely get on base his first 30 plate appearances in the major leagues. The right fielder, Josh Reddick, is an admitted good ‘ol boy southern hick who loves wrestling. The center fielder, George Springer, is from a mixed race family and battles stuttering but speaks in public anyway to show kids it’s OK. After striking out his first four at bats in game one, he returned to become the MVP of the World Series and led the team to victory, much like another leader who had a speech impediment I’m reminded of. Your DH, Evan Gattis is a guy who battled depression and was homeless until giving baseball one more try and now has won it all. While you should Google all of these players, his story is one that will particularly inspire you.
There are others also like Marwin Gonzales, who was the jack of all trades, filling in for whatever position when someone got hurt, and pitcher Dallas Keuchel who was told he didn’t throw hard enough to be a major league pitcher so he became a finesse guy and has since won a Cy Young award. Even the manager, AJ Hinch is an egghead from Stanford obsessed with analytics and is not your typical baseball leader.
This is basically a group of all different backgrounds from no less than four different countries all coming together to try and achieve a dream. Herzl would be proud. Now I know there are plenty of teams with diverse backgrounds, but when asked after it was all said and done what motivated them, the Astros players said they wanted to win it for the city of Houston who had suffered through a devastating hurricane, and for Carlos Beltran, a guy who had been in the league 20 years and never won a World Series, along with Justin Vermander, another veteran also without a ring. Their motivation wasn’t for selfish reasons, and when playing for the greater good, they were able to achieve. All of this sounds just like a little country I know! When faced with great challenges from outside forces better equipped than they are, richer than they are, and against the odds, Israel, a country full of people from different backgrounds relies on its wits to achieve, and in doing so accomplishes things that seem impossible. AJ Hinch would like Israel and he’d probably be in 8200 if ever drafted into the Army.
In the end, a bunch of jocks, nerds, people from poor backgrounds, rich backgrounds, short people, tall people and everything in between all came together and won. Is it Israel or the Astros? I can’t tell, but if you’re a fan of one, you should be able to relate to the other. Go Astros!! I mean, Go Israel!! I mean, well you get the point.