The global pandemic robbed us of many important things, not the least of which was so much human life. Even as we get back into jokey baseball mode, I want to make sure not to ignore the human tragedy up front. It has really, really sucked.
A far less important thing that the pandemic robbed us of? The ability to watch the Houston Astros Shame Tour.
You may recall that it was late in the offseason before 2020 Spring Training that MLB finalized its punishments for the Astros’ electronic sign-stealing scandal, punishments many thought were far too light. Moreover, the implicated Astros players and owner were far from sincerely apologetic for their cheating and the harm they’d caused other players, even going so far as to act later like they were the aggrieved parties with a chip on their shoulder. Suffice to say, by the time Spring Training rolled around, fans of other teams were pissed, lustily booing Jose Altuve even in a fake game.
Then the pandemic hit, shutting things down, and dampening our collective enthusiasm for rogue justice. When the season finally started, it came without fans, and thus without the ability for fans to let the Astros know what they think about their ill-gotten 2017 championship. We will never really get that moment back.
But God bless Angels fans for trying. Last night, with the Astros in town, not only were Angels fans chanting the obvious things loudly and in unison, a couple of them went the extra mile. In a nod to a particular element of their sign-stealing efforts, there were not one but TWO trash cans thrown onto the field. One a fake fun one, and one a real one:
— Justin Groc (@jgroc) April 6, 2021
This trash can was thrown one pitch before José Altuve struck out. pic.twitter.com/p5T8N5dPOf
— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) April 6, 2021
I won’t explicitly endorse throwing stuff onto the field, but given the context, it’s kinda funny. Just sayin’.
Astros manager Dusty Baker, who was brought in to steward a talented team after the punishments, needs to give me a freaking break with this high horse BS reaction (ESPN):
“You can tell the amount of hostility and the amount of hatred in the stands,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said after a dramatic 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, which dropped his team’s record to 4-1. “How many in the stands have never done anything wrong in their life? We paid the price for it. How many people have not cheated on a test or whatever at some point in time. I mean it’s easy if you live in glass houses, but I don’t think anybody lives in glass houses.
“I think that sometimes we need to look at ourselves before you spew hate on somebody else. It’s a sad situation for America, to me, when you hear things — I mean what are the kids supposed to think in the stands? And some of them are kids that are following their parents. It’s sad to me. People make mistakes. We paid for ours, and I wish they’d leave it alone.”
The fans never had a chance to express themselves! Fans are not going to LEAVE IT ALONE YET! What on earth are you talking about?! Again, Dusty wasn’t even there for the cheating, and I understand his role as manager, but this kind of “poor us, how dare you, we made mistakes” attitude is only going to enrage the fans even more.
… so I’m here for it.