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The Houston Astros baseball team won the World Series Wednesday night. It beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in the final game of the series.
Houston had never won the baseball championship since entering the major leagues in 1962.
That is a 55-year wait for a title!
The Astros came close a few times. In 2005, the team made it to the World Series but lost four straight games. The championship went to the White Sox of Chicago.
After that, things went from bad to worse.
The team lost nearly twice as often as they won during the following seasons. In 2011, the team lost 106 games. In 2012, it lost 107 games. And in 2013, the team lost a record 111 games.
Some sports observers called the Astros the “laughingstock” of baseball. In other words, people often made fun of the team’s poor results.
This season, the city of Houston was badly damaged by flooding from Hurricane Harvey. The Astros returned home from a road trip to find their city underwater.
Few picked the Astros to win the series over the Dodgers. But for writers and editors of Sports Illustrated magazine, the Astros’ victory did not come as a surprise.
In 2014, the magazine published a cover that predicted the Astros would win the 2017 World Series. It shows a young player named George Springer with the headline “Baseball’s Great Experiment.”
Ben Reiter is a writer for Sports Illustrated. He visited the team in 2014. Reiter wrote that the Astros were run by “know-it-all baseball outsiders,” including a former management consultant and a former NASA engineer.
Jeff Luhnow is the general manager for the Astros. He is the so-called “know-it-all” former management consultant. In 2014, he told Reiter about his plan to rebuild the team using scientific data.
“When you’re in 2017, you don’t really care that much about whether you lost 98 or 107 in 2012,” Luhnow said. “You care about how close we are to winning a championship in 2017.”
Three years later, the Astros did just that. And George Springer, named the series’ most valuable player, is back on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
This time, the headline reads: “Baseball’s Great Prophecy.” And the magazine predicts that the Astros will repeat as the World Series champions next year.
Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English with information from Sports Illustrated. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
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Words in This Story
laughingstock - n. a person or thing that is regarded as very foolish or rediculous
cover - n. the outer part of a magazine
prophecy - n. a statement that something will happen in the future
consultant - n. a person who gives professional advice or services to companies for a cost