The Houston Astros return to Yankee Stadium on Tuesday for their first series since Major League Baseball’s investigation into its 2017 season stealing scandal, and manager Dusty Baker isn’t expecting a warm welcome.
“That’s going to be wild,” Baker told USA Today Sports.
The Yankees and their fans have been among the harshest critics of the Astros since MLB announced that the organization used a center field camera, video monitor and trash can to broadcast pitches from opposing teams to hitters. from Houston during the 2017 season. The Astros defeated the Yankees in seven games in the 2017 American League Championship Series before beating the Dodgers in the World Series.
Manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for the entire 2020 season (both were subsequently fired by the team) and the Astros were fined $ 5 million and lost two draft picks as part of the historic penalty the franchise received on last year.
But MLB’s decision to grant immunity to Astros players as part of the investigation sparked widespread outrage in the majors, specifically the Yankees.
“I don’t think there is any question about how the fans will react when they enter the stadium,” Yankees wide receiver Kyle Higashioka said Sunday, according to the New York Post. “If they deserve it, I think the fans will let them know.”
Baker, who was hired last year to replace Hinch, has long maintained that the players and coaches involved in the 2017 scandal have “paid for” their mistakes and have appealed to fans who continue to boo current players. of the Astros.
“There are only four or five guys here who were there when it all happened,” Baker told reporters Sunday, according to the Houston Chronicle. “So are people booing the person? Are they booing the uniform or are they booing the organization?
“Most of the guys weren’t even here, including me. What are you going to do? You can’t control what people do. You can only control what you do and how you feel.”
Baker added to USA Today Sports: “As far as I’m concerned, it should be over.”
Tuesday’s game (7 p.m. ET, ESPN / ESPN Deportes) will mark the first time the teams have met since SCLA 2019, which Houston won in six games, and news of the sign-stealing scandal emerged shortly after the Astros lost the World Series to the Nationals that year.
Yankee Stadium will be restricted to 20% of its maximum capacity due to COVID-19 regulations on Tuesday. Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters that he has instructed his players “not to get caught up in all those things,” but fans in the Bronx will enjoy their first opportunity to boo the Astros.
Marc Chalpin, a fan who regularly sits among the “Bleacher Creatures” at Yankee Stadium, told the Post that he plans to attend games Tuesday and Wednesday to boo the Astros, saying “we want you to know they are a bunch of cheaters and their ring means nothing. “
“Like all Yankees fans, we are angry,” Chalpin told the Post. “That 2017 team was special, and they could have gone even further in the playoffs. I don’t know if they would have won it all, but finding out they didn’t make it because the Astros cheated makes it even worse. … They didn’t just cheat. They weren’t punished for it. They faced no consequences. “
The Astros, however, have grown used to criticism from rival teams and fans. Fans in Anaheim threw trash cans onto the field last month during a game between the Astros and Angels in one of the latest signs that anger over the 2017 scandal still lingers.
“They boo us anywhere,” catcher Martín Maldonado told reporters Sunday. “We as a team love it. We enjoy it. I think it brings out the best in us. We go out and feel like we’re playing playoff baseball every game. I don’t see anything different if we go out and play our game.”