Lance McCullers Jr. offers WS tickets to fans taunted in NY

Monday, October 21, 2019
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After the fans were taunted in New York, McCullers wants the fans to enjoy a World Series game on him.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- What began as a trip to NYC to celebrate a birthday turned into a trip to Yankee Stadium for game 5 of the ALCS. It took an abrupt turn, which had three Astros fans requiring an escort by security guards and police to escape some overly aggressive Yankees fans.

The story took another turn, and one with a happy ending none of them could have ever anticipated.

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Cruz Arcia, Jr., Nathan Rocha and Kristina Contreras had planned the trip before the playoffs.

"We were able to get some tickets," Arcia said. "And we've been to nearly every Astros home game for several years."

They wore their Astros orange to the game.

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"As soon as we got to the stadium, people started yelling at us to go home," Arcia said.

When they took their seats, along with a handful of other Houston fans in the same section, the heckling continued. Arcia and his two friends bought extra food at the stadium and offered it to Yankees fans in their section, with some of them taking it.

When the Astros scored, tensions rose.

"There was this one guy who was especially bad," Arcia said. "I had a tray of cheese fries and he said he wanted to take a selfie with me. That's when I saw his hand go under the tray and he pushed it toward my face."

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He turned in time, but the cheese fries flew onto his Jose Altuve jersey.

Arcia pushed the man away, and onlookers hurled food and beer at the three Houston fans.

"The guy who started it was about to hit me, but a police officer and security stepped in. "

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Kristina said the same man tried to punch her.

"I said, 'I'm a girl, are you going to try to hit me too?' It was almost a surreal moment."

Security escorted them out of the stands. "We thought we were going to be removed from the stadium, but some other New York fans told them we'd done nothing wrong," Rocha said.

Instead, they were escorted to seats behind home plate, much more expensive than the seats they had paid for. "We got the last laugh," said Arcia.

They also made a statement by not reacting to the taunts and jeers and food projectiles. "We were there to represent Houston and Texas and show that Texans are friendly. We're known for hospitality," Contreras said.

That made an impression on Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who contacted Acia on Twitter, responding to video of the trio being protected by security as they exited the stands, video that went viral.

"Fans of all teams should be celebrated for loving the game, not treated like that," he wrote. "I look forward to having you watch a WS game in the H on me."

It should be noted that the three friends are part of the Praise Worship Church in Webster. "What the enemy means for evil, God means for good," Contreras said. "You could say we were walking through the valley of Yankees."

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They said they also received apologies on social media from New York fans for reception they were given.

The three friends will be at the first game in the World Series, wearing their Astros orange.

Follow Deborah Wrigley on Facebook and Twitter.