The story behind Jose Altuve’s whirlwind week

Third American League batting title? Check. Fourth straight AL hit crown? Yep. Now, a first MVP award too? Jose Altuve got it all this year. So it was fitting that it was Altuve — the heart and soul of the relentless Astros — who saw a ground ball off the bat of Corey Seager come his way with two outs in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the World Series. He gloved it on the outfield grass, one knee to the turf just to be sure, and threw to Yuli Gurriel for the first championship in Astros history.

That ignited a wild celebration, just the beginning of a whirlwind period for Altuve, who would sleep no more than 11 hours over a four-day span that started in Los Angeles and ended in Miami — with a private plane stopping in New York, Orlando and Houston in between.

“A couple years ago, we lost 100 games three seasons in a row, so it’s obvious that we put in a lot of effort together to become World Series champions,” Altuve told ESPN’s Buster Olney on the field after Game 7.

Translation: We’re going to enjoy this.

Thursday, Nov. 2
Less than 24 hours after the final out in Los Angeles, Altuve was in New York to tape an appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” — his first on a program of that magnitude — and came out to the strains of “I Want It That Way,” by The Backstreet Boys, with the second baseman’s name inserted into the chorus by Fallon’s band, The Roots.

Why a song from 1999, when Altuve was still in elementary school? A video of Altuve singing the boy band’s hit was an Internet sensation in 2016, and The Backstreet Boys themselves threw their support behind Altuve on Oct. 31, the day of Game 6.

Thanks to @jimmyfallon for the invitation… i had a great time 🙏🏻🙌🏻

A post shared by Jose Altuve (@josealtuve27) on Nov 3, 2017 at 10:26am PDT

Once Altuve was seated on late night’s most-famous couch, both men wore the second baseman’s signature eye black during the interview, which featured several extended cheers from Fallon’s Big Apple audience.

“I’m getting used to the New York ovation,” joked Altuve, whose Astros beat the Yankees in seven games in the American League Championship Series. But he wouldn’t be in New York for long — just long enough to hang out backstage with the cast of “Stranger Things,” the red-hot Netflix hit, before it was wheels up back to H-Town.

Friday, Nov. 3
According to the Houston Chronicle, there were more than 750,000 people in attendance at the Astros parade, some of whom filled a parking garage that overlooked the event like an upper deck. Altuve was introduced with his teammates on stage at City Hall and entered to MVP chants. While teammates gave inspired speeches — Josh Reddick even did a Ric Flair impersonation — Altuve looked like a man who hadn’t slept much in days because, well, he hadn’t.

Thank u Houston ❤️

A post shared by Jose Altuve (@josealtuve27) on Nov 3, 2017 at 2:23pm PDT

On stage, he gave a quick, but heartfelt, thank you. Through a rep for his agency, he said that “seeing all the fans that went through so much during Harvey” brought him happiness.

That same day, according to his Twitter feed, he showed his appreciation for what the team had accomplished by giving each of his teammates a bottle of Crown Royal XR. He tweeted out a photo of himself holding a bottle encased in a personalized bag that read “2017 World Series Champions #HoustonStrong.”

And the promotional tweet read: “We took the Crown, now we celebrate like Kings with @CrownRoyal XR …”

The Astros had even more to celebrate on Friday, when, to no one’s surprise, they officially exercised the $6 million option on Altuve’s contract, one of baseball’s biggest bargains.

Saturday, Nov. 4
Hope they didn’t party too hard — Altuve and teammates George Springer and Carlos Correa headed to Disney World in Orlando for their second parade in as many days. Departure was at 6 a.m. A few hours after that, Altuve stood at the front of a float, below a waving Mickey in a baseball uniform, that traveled down Disney’s Main Street.

Just having fun… pasándola bien un rato #georgespringer #carloscorrea

A post shared by Jose Altuve (@josealtuve27) on Nov 4, 2017 at 8:28am PDT

There were plenty of Astros fans on hand, including a 13-year-old Venezuelan boy named Samuel, whom Altuve picked out of the crowd. The boy was so overwhelmed by meeting Altuve and receiving the Astros star’s cap that he couldn’t stop crying. Another woman begged for a photo. “You’re the pitcher, Jose Altuve!” Close enough.

Four and a half hours later, it was back on the private jet, which took Altuve back to New York for a taping of “Saturday Night Live.” He arrived at 5:30 p.m. and spent seven hours at “SNL,” where he was most excited to meet Miley Cyrus, that night’s musical guest.

Along with Springer and Alex Bregman, Altuve appeared in a “Weekend Update” sketch. Leslie Jones, wearing a Yankees shirt, directed her jokes at Altuve: “That little Altuve, hitting all those home runs. The bat is bigger than him.” Then, in a nod to Correa proposing to his girlfriend after Game 7, Jones turned to the 5-foot-6 Altuve and said, “Looks like this dude is on one knee right now.” Altuve then sat on Jones’ lap as the segment ended.

The dream sequence for Altuve ended as he stood on stage at the end of the show next to A-listers Alec Baldwin, Larry David and Cyrus. After midnight, he was on his way back to Houston.

Sunday, Nov. 5
Altuve landed in Texas at 3:30 a.m. — just in time for a Sports Illustrated cover shoot at 10 a.m., before returning to Minute Maid Park for a promotional appearance for Papa John’s from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. By 3:30 p.m., he was off to Miami, where he resides part-time — ready for a well-deserved rest after the best week of his life.

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