In wake of the Astros 2017 sign-stealing scandal, it’s become expected for them to catch it from fans in opposing stadiums.
This is, after all, the first time baseball fans are getting to greet the Astros in person since Major League Baseball rendered its finding and penalties prior to the 2020 season. Fans weren’t allowed into stadiums during the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But as bad as it has been everywhere the Astros have gone, the boos and disdain was times 100 this week when the Astros went to the Bronx to play the New York Yankees for the first time since news of the 2017 scandal broke. The fans showed up at Yankee Stadium with signs, trash cans and plenty of harsh things to say directed at the Astros.
“At least there wasn’t any violence,” said Astros second-year manager Dusty Baker, who wasn’t a part of the organization during the scandal. “They can say whatever they want.
“It sounded like a packed house (Tuesday night) even though it wasn’t. We expected that reception, so we’ll get more of the same tomorrow and the next day.”
The Yankees fans definitely didn’t disappoint. They gave it to the Astros players whether they were on the team during the scandal or not. Jose Altuve, who is one of three in the current lineup, was heckled so bad that he went hitless in the first game – a 7-3 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday.
Altuve, however, got the last laugh on the fans in the Bronx with Thursday’s go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning.
“The fans were extremely hard on Altuve,” said Baker, whose team salvaged the three-game series with a 7-4 win Thursday afternoon. “He’s exerting a lot of effort, maybe too much effort.”
The Yankees, of course, have a personal ax to grind because the Astros beat them in seven games during the 2017 American League Championship Series. The Astros then went on to win the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers that season.
The Astros paid a hefty price with manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow being suspended for the entire 2020 season and ultimately fired. The team was also fined $5 million and had to give up two draft picks as punishment.