HOUSTON -- There were smiles and hugs, wide eyes and open mouths. Astros shortstop Carlos Correa certainly made a huge impact on a few dozen young patients at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital when he took some time to visit with them and take pictures and sign autographs on Tuesday afternoon.
Correa, less than two weeks removed from helping the Astros win the World Series, has been on a whirlwind schedule since hoisting the trophy, including a proposal to now fiancée, Daniella Rodriguez, on the field at Dodger Stadium in the minutes following a Game 7 win. On Tuesday, Correa was thrilled to provide a lift to the young patients.
"It's just a great feeling to be able to see kids, and when you get here and they're kind of shy and all of a sudden they're having a big smile while taking a picture with you and they want a hug and a signature," Correa said. "Just spending a couple of minutes with them, you can change their whole day. For me, that really means a lot."
The hospital visit was the brainchild of Rodriguez, who told Correa that once things had settled down in the wake of the World Series victory they should try to visit a hospital.
"She was like, 'We've been doing a lot of flying and everything, but when we get back to Houston and settle down, we should go to a hospital and meet some kids and make their day better by just showing up and being able to spend some time with them,'" Correa said. "I said, 'It sounds like a great idea.'"
The 11th-floor room high above Houston's medical center immediately lit up when Correa walked in wearing a No. 1 jersey and his engaging smile.
"It feels so good," Rodriguez said. "Just the minute I walked in the room and see the way all the people were so happy and cheering him on, it felt so good."
Correa shared a special moment with the 11-day-old daughter of Nikki and Bill Weinlein. Correa picked up Zoe, who was being discharged from the hospital, and delicately held her. He admitted he was more nervous holding the baby than he was proposing to Rodriguez.
"I was like, 'Oh my, God, [she's 11] days old and I'm holding [her] and I better not drop [her],'" Correa said. "I was being super-careful, but I was so nervous at the same time. It was just awesome."
Nikki Weinlein was appreciative of Correa's effort.
"I really thought it was a cute moment," she said.
Bill Weinlein said he was flabbergasted.
"It's pretty cool and unexpected," he said. "Hopefully today we get to go home, and this is a way to go."
Rikki Wilkins' preschool-age son, Isiah, recently had heart surgery and couldn't walk on Monday as he recuperated. On Tuesday, he was able to walk up to Correa and get an autograph on a shirt.
"We've been through a lot, but we came through it and everything," Wilkins said. "Just standing strong, like the Astros. They took all of us to Game 7. It made me nervous and gave me strength, but we made it. For him to stand up strong after heart surgery, it brought tears to my eyes."
For Correa, that's what it's all about.
"These kids watch every single game and they can't go to the field because of obvious reasons, but if we can come over and say hi to them, give them a hug, take a picture, it means a lot to them," Correa said.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.