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World Series Preview: Houston Astros Host Game 4


As we head into the home stretch of today's program, we thought we'd talk about baseball for a few minutes - sorry, couldn't help it. Tonight, Houston will host Game 4 of the World Series. Last night, the Houston Astros took a 2-games-to-1 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-seven series. They need two more wins to take the title. And there was a racial incident directed at a player that you might have heard about. Brien Straw of Houston Public Media is going to tell us about all this. Brien, hello. Thanks so much for coming on.

BRIEN STRAW, BYLINE: It's my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.

MARTIN: So before we talk about the play on the field, I wanted to ask you about that incident involving Astro's first baseman Yuli Gurriel and the Dodgers' pitcher Yu Darvish. Tell us what happened. And how is the league responding to this?

STRAW: Well, it was the bottom of the second inning, and Gurriel made a racist gesture aimed at Yu Darvish - Darvish is Japanese - and he kind of pulled the corner of his eyes. He has since apologized. And he said that, you know - through a translator, he's Cuban, and so he really doesn't speak any English - but he said he did not mean to be offensive in any way shape or form. He really said he was just thrilled that he finally had had some success against Yu Darvish. I think he was 1 of 8 batting against him in previous times.

Darvish used to pitch for the Texas Rangers, so they faced each other actually a couple times this season. Yu Darvish said that acting like that is, you know, disrespectful not only to the people around the world and the Asian community around the world but the Asian community here in Houston, in particular, because it's about 25 percent of the population.

MARTIN: You know, it's been a tough time for Houston - trying to recover from Hurricane Harvey, the Astros have never won a World Series game before. Now they're two wins away from a title. Now, you know, it's kind of within sight. How is the city taking all this in?

STRAW: I think they're conflicted, honestly. The World Series, without question, has provided the necessary relief that this city has needed, as you mentioned, dealing with Hurricane Harvey. And there are still people here in the city that are displaced from their homes. And it could be a year or more before they're able to get back in them, you know, based on needed repairs. So that there's this diversion, and it's honestly such a thrilling diversion that a team is in the World Series, it's something that's really nice.

The problem for the Houston sports fan is they believe - you know, perceived, real or not - that there's a kind of a dark cloud hanging over all sports franchises here in this town. This is not like New York or Los Angeles where they're, you know, most of the major league sports teams have won a number of titles. The Houston Rockets won two in the '90s and that's it for this city. So there's an awful big feeling I would say among the fans here of, when's that shoe going to drop? And when's the luck going to turn from good luck to bad luck unfortunately?

MARTIN: Well, that's Brien Straw of Houston Public Media. He's in Houston. And Game 4 of the World Series is tonight. Brien, thank you.

STRAW: Oh, it's my pleasure. Have a great day. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.