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Has there ever been a more Houston team than the 2017 Astros? They hail from 18 states, four countries and a commonwealth. Some had hardly heard of the place when they got here, many didn’t want to come, some never expected to stay, and few can now imagine life anywhere else. No man looks like any other—they’re tall and small, gregarious and taciturn, 21 years old and 40 years young. Indeed, they are different in every conceivable way, and yet for all of that, it isn’t their differences that define them, but what they share. A very Houston story, as I say. It’s an open question whether their success has come in spite of differences or because of them, but no one disputes the success itself. The very, very special team that is the Astros belongs to a very, very special city, even if it took both of them until the summer of 2017 to realize it.

There are still the doubters, of course, still some who, for whatever reason, will never give this city or its team the respect it deserves. A record of 101-62 is just not enough, they say. Ending a season 21 games ahead of your closest division rival is not enough. Leading the majors in runs, hits, and team batting average isn’t enough. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa and George Springer and Marwin Gonzalez and Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel aren’t enough. Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton and Brad Peacock and Ken Giles and Joe Musgrove and Chris Devenski and all the other guys isn’t enough.

Today is the day we prove that it is enough. Today is the day we silence the doubters once and for all. Today is the day we teach the world the lesson we learned from a hurricane: it isn’t the storms of life that matter but the collective strength you meet them with.

Game 1 of the American League Division Series begins at 3:08 p.m. local time, and will be broadcast live on the MLB Network. Don’t have a TV that gets that? Can’t get away from work? No worries. Throughout the game, ‘Stro Stories will be posting live updates from Minute Maid Park here on Houstoniamag.com, as well as on Twitter.

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