Opening day has arrived, and that means the Houston Astros are getting loudly booed by opposing fans. One year later than expected.
You could be forgiven for not remembering the specifics of the Astros' cheating scandal that was the biggest story in baseball for a few months, because a pandemic abruptly succeeded it as the big story. Long story short, the Astros cheated, people were fired, players weren't punished, fans were livid.
The expectation was that fans would make their displeasure known throughout the 2020 season, but then the COVID-19 pandemic kept them out of the ballpark while the Astros were playing. Sure, they were booed by fans in spring training last year, but the jeering capabilities of spring training facilities are hardly comparable to MLB stadiums with four times the capacity.
That meant fans had to wait 16 months after the story first broke to really boo the Astros in person, and even they were in suppressed numbers due to health and safety restrictions. But they still booed, passionately, on opening day, when the Astros visited the Oakland Athletics to start the season.
Some even brought trash cans to bang:
The boos continued as the Astros took their at-bats:
Funnily enough, the Astros taking the field on Thursday represented only a fraction of the 2017 team that won a World Series while utilizing its infamous trash-can banging system to illegally steal signs. The Astros' opening day roster contains only five players — Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel and Lance McCullers Jr. — who appeared for the team in 2017.
Fans were pretty happy when one of those five took a fastball off the shoulder:
This kind of treatment will almost certainly be a recurring sight during Astros road trips this year. Just imagine how it will sound when they visit Dodger Stadium (Aug. 3-4) and Yankee Stadium (May 4-6).
The A's also have a notable member of the 2017 Astros on their team. Mike Fiers, the pitcher who initially revealed the Astros' cheating, remains on the A's roster, but will miss the series after being placed on the 10-day IL due to hip inflammation.
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