HOUSTON -- When George Springer got to Minute Maid Park on Wednesday morning, someone had a message for him -- "Hey George, you're on the cover of Sports Illustrated."
"It's an honor," Springer said. "As a kid you always see Sports Illustrated. I'm happy about the article, about the team and the stuff that's been said about us as an organization."
The cover features a photo of Springer swinging in the Astros' rainbow uniforms from the 1970s. Above him reads, "Baseball's great experiment." Springer said the team doesn't see it as an experiment. While he didn't go along with that line, he did like seeing the headline's prediction, "Your 2017 World Series Champs."
"Anytime they predict you to win the World Series is a good time for me," Springer said. "They're recognizing what the organization has done and how far this team has come."
Springer is the fourth Astros player to be featured on the cover since 1981, and the first position player to be featured in the organization's history. Roger Clemens last appeared on the cover in 2004, Randy Johnson had the honor in 1998 and J.R. Richard in 1981.
The cover says the Astros are going beyond Moneyball to build baseball's next big thing. That credit is directed toward general manager Jeff Luhnow.
"If there's attention brought to the city of Houston and to the organization of the Astros, that's a positive," Luhnow said. "Obviously everything depends on how we do in the field."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Mike Vernon is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.