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Astros Bring Cheer To Flood-Damaged Houstonians


The World Series moves to Houston tonight for Game 3 between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. It is a welcome distraction for folks in Houston. The city is still recovering from the worst flooding in its history after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas in August. Here's Florian Martin of Houston Public Media.

FLORIAN MARTIN, BYLINE: Victor Garcia spends most days here, inside this flooded-out home.

VICTOR GARCIA: And you can just see where all the kitchen cabinets...

F. MARTIN: After Harvey hit, Garcia left his job at the Port of Houston and now is helping his brother clean out his residence in northeast Houston. The house is stripped down to its outer walls and wooden beams. Everything else was lost when the water rose almost up to the roof.

GARCIA: All this wood - these wooden floors were affected because of the mold, the black mold. But all the drywall's been taken out. All this will be bleached.

F. MARTIN: Garcia is a baseball fan. But he hasn't been able to watch the Astros because the flooding took out the TV along with everything else. So he listens to the games on the radio.

GARCIA: It brings you up. It brings you up. It gives you, you know, hope still, that Houston's just - you know, it's got its downfalls, but it picks you up.

F. MARTIN: The flooding in August killed more than 90 people statewide and damaged or destroyed at least 160,000 homes in Greater Houston. The Astros players know what their trip to the World Series means to people in Houston. After beating the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, Astros pitcher Justin Verlander said as much.


JUSTIN VERLANDER: You know, it gives the city something to rally around - it gives people something to cheer for that otherwise may not have a lot to be hopeful for.

F. MARTIN: It's also echoed by Mayor Sylvester Turner. He says the Astros are not just playing for Houston but the whole state. And he knows people across the country are rooting for the Astros.


SYLVESTER TURNER: I think Americans like to see when disasters have come your way that you're not staying in a state of despair, that you still maintain that can-do spirit.

F. MARTIN: He says the Astros represent that same spirit the people of Houston have been showing in rebuilding after the devastating floods.

Angela Bales's home just south of town got only a little water inside, but that hasn't stopped her World Series spirit. She was decked out in an Astros T-shirt at her daughter's soccer practice and hopes to be in the stadium for tonight's game.

ANGELA BALES: I think this is just - brings everyone together and is so good for the city and just has everyone kind of forget about everything that happened to them and what they lost and lets everyone focus on baseball, which is awesome.

F. MARTIN: Another Astros win would certainly help, too.

For NPR News, I'm Florian Martin in Houston. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.