World champion Astros give hurricane-ravaged Houston a reason to cheer

Hundreds of thousands of people cheered on the Houston Astros as the World Series champions spent an hour traveling in fire trucks and double-decker buses during a victory parade in downtown Houston.

The parade ended Friday afternoon in front of Houston City Hall, where team owner Jim Crane joined manager A.J. Hinch and coaches on a stage.

Fans draped in orange and blue Astros gear crowded the park in front of City Hall, with many wading into a large reflecting pool amid increasing humidity and temperatures in the mid-80s.

World Series MVP George Springer thanked Astros fans for believing in the team as it rallied to win the franchise’s first championship.

Springer told the crowd at the rally outside City Hall that he was twice told the Astros weren’t supposed to win. The first time was in New York, after the Yankees took a 3-2 lead in the American League Championship Series. The second time was in Los Angeles, when the Dodgers forced a Game 7 in the World Series.

“How did that work out?” he asked the cheering crowd, encouraging them to celebrate and enjoy the win.

Hinch thanked his players during the rally, “for how much you love each other and ... for making Houston a championship city.”

During the parade, four military jets soared above the sea of orange and blue T-shirts, jerseys, pennants and banners. The NASA T-38 aircraft are based at nearby Johnson Space Center.

Two hours before the parade began, thousands of people were standing more than 10 rows deep along downtown streets.

Others claimed bird’s-eye views from the upper floors of parking structures along the 20-block parade route, draping banners down the walls. So many people showed up that city officials extended the route two blocks.

LaShawn Harris was among those fans. Dressed in an Astros T-shirt and cap, along with a fanny pack with gold-colored sequins, Harris led other waiting fans in a cheer: “Let’s go Astros! Let’s go Astros!”

The 47-year-old Harris says she got up at 5 a.m. so she, her two nieces and her granddaughter could get “a good spot.”

By 9 a.m. Friday, Manuel Mejia and his 15-year-old son, Jonah, had set up four foldable chairs at a street corner where they’d be able to see the start and end of the parade.

The 43-year-old father said he’s been an Astros fan since his father took him to his first Astros game when he was 8. The World Series win, he said, is great for all of Houston as the city continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey.

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