It's been quite a ride for the Houston Astros and their third baseman Alex Bregman. Barely a week ago, Houston won its first World Series, concluding a tough seven-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
During the series, Bregman played a critical role at the plate, contributing seven hits, five runs batted in (RBIs) and two home runs. Bregman also played a pivotal role as a part of the Astros' world class infield, helping all-stars Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and the rest of Astros bring the Commissioner's Trophy home to Houston. Bregman spoke to Rolling Stone Tuesday morning about the Astros' 2017 season and the World Series.
You're 23 and just completed only your second MLB season. And you've won the World Series. What's that like?
It's been a crazy whirlwind of events. You grow up dreaming about playing in the World Series since you're a little kid. I remember the days in the back yard with my parents playing whiffle ball, saying, "Hey, it's Game 7 of the World Series, are you gonna win or are you gonna lose?"
To be able to be part of such a great team and such a great coaching staff, it was just great to see the smiles on all the faces when we won.
You had two homers during the Series but, arguably, your most important hit was the base hit that broke the gridlock in Game 5. Talk about that moment.
It was a super special moment. I was in the on-deck circle when Springer walked. I looked over to the dugout and Correa said, "It's your time. Let's do this." I thought to myself, Let's find a way to get this done.
I went up there thinking that I would just take the first pitch and not swing. Next thing you know, I swing and the ball comes off my bat. And next thing you know, we're celebrating. It was kind of a blur.
The Dodgers were touted as having the best pitching, mostly unhittable pitching in baseball. How did you and your teammates prepare for that?
They have an unbelievable pitching staff. I mean, Clayton Kershaw, future Hall of Famer. Kenley Jansen has been unhittable all year. Their bullpen was talked about as being the best in baseball.
The hit that really broke the ice for us was when Marwin Gonzalez took Kenley Jansen deep, to tie up Game 2. We ended up coming back and winning that game. And, I remember our team kind of having the weight of the world come off our shoulders. We suddenly knew, "All right, we can hit these guys, and we can score runs against this team." The next thing you know, we score a ton of runs the rest of the series. So that one swing opened up the floodgates for our offense.
Your manager, A.J. Hinch, told Rolling Stone before the postseason that the Astros' players really "like each other." How much did that show up for you guys in the World Series?
The clubhouse chemistry was probably one of the best things we had going for us all year long. We added some veteran guys in the offseason that really brought this team closer together. The year before we had little cliques and we weren't as tight knit. The Latin players kind of hung out with the Latin players, the American players hung out with American players.
When we returned this year, the whole team hung out with each other on and off the field. We [became] best friends and played like we were best friends on the field, and that was huge for us.
Does winning change that, or did you guys make a concerted team-building effort all year?
We had countless team dinners throughout the whole season that we didn't have last year. Also when we'd be on the road and if the team had an off day, we'd all go to dinner together. During team dinners, everyone would have to stand up and speak —and speak in front of the whole team— which is unheard of. We started that after [the first game versus] Seattle, and it made a huge difference.
Obviously winning the series for Houston is a big deal, but probably more so after Hurricane Harvey. How much did that play in your mind in such a difficult series?
It kept us motivated the whole time. We knew we were playing with the city on our back, and we were trying to win it for them. We knew that they made it through Hurricane Harvey, so for them we had to make it through the Dodgers.
What's it like to be on Saturday Night Live?
Fun. It was a seven-hour day. We had to show up early and rehearse three times. But honestly, it was really cool to see what goes on behind the scenes. I know that everyone there – from Springer to Altuve to me – enjoyed it, and we felt honored to be a part of it.
How'd it feel to hang with Leslie Jones and all the Yankees fans on the cast and crew knowing you broke their hearts in the ALCS?
[Laughing] They were giving us a hard time, and I gave Leslie a hard time. Leslie said, "I hope after the show, you get some rest." And I said, "The Yankees have a head start on us." And she said, "Yeah, well we have 27 more championships than y'all."
Now that baseball is done, what are you going to do until spring training starts?
I know, for me, I'm going to be attending a lot of Houston Rockets basketball games, and some LSU football games, and enjoying the championship with some of my teammates who are going to be in Houston during the offseason. Also, getting some work in to get ready for the following year.
Word around the country is that Houston has excellent food, great steaks, etc. Do you have a favorite spot in your hometown, or favorite Houston specialty?
I go to a spot in Houston called Moonshiners. It's famous for their brisket grilled cheese. I probably eat about four or five of those a week.