HOUSTON – What a difference a series makes.
Cruz Arcia and his friends were having a blast Tuesday, cheering on their Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park during Game 1 of the World Series.
Their experience in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series in New York was a much different one.
Video of the group's treatment in Yankee Stadium by New York's fans went viral. They endured verbal assaults and had beer and food thrown on them. They eventually had to be escorted out of the stadium. The whole ordeal caught the attention of injured Astros pitcher Lance McCullers, who gave the group tickets to Tuesday night's World Series game.
"I just thank Lance McCullers for giving us the free tickets for all of my friends to enjoy this wonderful game," said Nathan Rocha. "Thank you, Lance. I appreciate all the love."
Arcia added his sentiments.
"Lance, thank you so much for having me here," said Arcia.
Arcia has become an instant celebrity among Astros and Nationals fans, with people recognizing him and stopping him for selfies.
"Easily, I would say about 100 to 150 pictures since I got here," he said. "Just people posting them everywhere. So you know, it feels great."
And the group has learned an important lesson from the whole ordeal.
"He appreciated the way that we represented Houston, Texas," Rocha said, speaking of McCullers. "The way we represented the Astros."
Arcia said he learned an important lesson.
"Stay calm, rep your city, and you'll get rewarded for that."