At some point, José Altuve’s height should probably no longer be dwelled on, but seven years into his career, it’s still fun as hell to marvel at him being one of the best players in the baseball—and a good-as-hell candidate for the AL MVP—in tandem with his, uh, modest vertical dimensions.
Yesterday afternoon was the consummate celebration of Altuve, an unlikely superstar, socking three home runs to open the ALDS, two of them off Chris Sale.
And they weren’t cheapies. These were three bombs between 399-415 feet, per ESPN’s Hit Tracker. They were fun, and spectacular and they put Sale and the Red Sox in the toilet.
It was the first three-home run game in the postseason since Pablo Sandoval launched three of ‘em in the 2012 World Series. Altuve’s outburst was pleasing in much the same way Pablo’s was, in that it was as much a visual spectacle as an athletic one.
Baseball can be a rote game sometimes—it often feels like every hard-throwing reliever with a beard is just a slightly different version of the same person, and they are all named Craig Brick—and so it’s always fun when a player can perform greatness while also giving you something fun to look at. Pablo did that with his free-swinging, Altuve does it by somehow turning that little frame into a siege engine. A Justin Smoak home run is fine and good, but an Altuve dinger is one I want to see over and over again.
Yesterday’s game was one Houstonians will remember, no matter where the rest of the postseason takes their team. And tiny José Altuve will always, rightfully, be at the center of that. May there be more Altuve Games in our near future; may we be blessed with more bombs followed by side-by-side shots of him with Carlos Correa, or anyone tall, deep into October.