HOUSTON – On Monday evening, the Houston Astros played the Baltimore Orioles, the Astros big home-opener since winning the World Series.
The World Series win was a boost for the city's morale after Hurricane Harvey, but it continues to be an economic boom for nearby neighborhoods.
Long before the world championship, Astros returned to Minute Maid Park, and long before the thousands of fans came piling into the stands, workers methodically sprayed, thoroughly cleaned and mowed around the stadium.
"A lot of work going on," said Giles Kibbe, Astros senior vice president and general counsel. He added, "A lot of excitement, but to start over is really cool."
Kibbe has been with the team since the 2010 takeover.
"I love my job,” said Kibbe. He's been a proud fan of the team for decades. "I used to go into the Astrodome all the time growing up."
Massive events like the World Series and the Super Bowl pour millions of dollars into the city's economy, “It's an excitement that feeds off of itself. Restaurants, bars, everything downtown, parking revenue, everything was being driven through the World Series games and playoffs," said Kibbe.
The Astros' playoffs series in 2017 brought about $95 million to Houston. It was an average $6 million to $8 million per playoff game.
The World Series games brought in a total of $30 million more.
The Super Bowl kicked in a whopping $380 million to the Houston economy,
"It was more of a community event, so that's why our impact for the world series on the Houston community is such a longer effect than the one event of the Super Bowl," said Kibbe.
Neighborhood businesses, in the shadows of Minute Maid continue to ride the economic wave.
Like in EaDo, east of downtown.
The lunch rush was in full swing at the brand-new Rodeo Goat restaurant on Lamar Street.
The "Goat" just opened last week, "It's an ice house with burgers. They're going to be piled high and fall apart," said Kelsey Kostelnik, the general manager. She added, “Everything on our menu is absolutely fantastic. The location and the neighborhood needed some revival and they wanted it and we're lucky to be a part of that."
EaDo is only 1.2 square miles and it's booming. Within EaDo's boundaries are an estimated 5,600 residents and about 5,000 jobs.
"Everyone that works here are really big Astros fans," said Kostelnik. She added, "We really hope we see really good crowds and come in and grab a bite to eat."
And the economic boom is stretching far beyond these neighborhoods.
"Merchandise sales, not just here at Minute Maid Park, but throughout the region were extremely high. They still are," said Kibbe. He added, “Hopefully if we continue to execute this World Series experience that we had, and building up to it, will last for years and years.”
The Astros are also getting into more of the action outside the ballpark.
They've invested in parking lots and owner Jim Crane has opened two new restaurants.