Bittersweet postseason run for loved ones of Astros superfans that died from COVID-19

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- This postseason, the "rally nuns" aren't the only angels in the outfield after two Astros superfans passed away earlier this year from COVID-19.

With more than 40,000 fans inside Minute Maid for a World Series game, it might be hard to stand out. That's not the case with this centerfield crew that sports objects larger than life.

In 2017, one big hat turned into three, and ballooned to 15.

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"We were like, you know, we're like the big hat posse," Roja's friend, David Arriasola recalled. "We got a posse."

One member stood out.

Dave Rojas, also known as "Downtown Dave," may have had a bigger heart than a hat.

"Even on his death bed, literally, he was raising money for charity," Arriasola recalled.

In January, while battling cancer, it was Dave who needed support after he tested positive with COVID-19 and later died. It's a loss that makes this Astros postseason bittersweet for the posse.

"I feel proud to be able to have him on my chest right next to my heart, because he's the type of man that is lovable and a great man," Roja's friend, Carlos Campos said.

Rojas wasn't the only Astros super fan to lose their battle with COVID-19.

"Now that I think about it. That was his signature," Valentin Jalomo's granddaughter, Jazmin Gutierrez said.

The man with the signature mustache, Jalomo died in January. He was a staple in the concourse.

Jalomo even received a message from Astros star Alex Bregman hours before he died.

"It's hard," Gutierrez explained. "We go to the games, and he would take us so much that we would try to get out of it. Now, we go to the games and we're like, 'Oh my God, this is so much fun.'"

Right now, the "rally nuns" get most of the attention as the angels in the outfield. But to other Astros fans, there are two others still with them as the team continues its quest for another title.

"It's always going to be hard every time I walk down the street and into the doors down here right next to the pump," Campos said. "It's always going to be hard, but I know he's right here next to me."

A larger-than-life presence even bigger than the orange hats cheering in the outfield.

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