The Houston Astros return to Yankee Stadium on Tuesday for the primary time since Main League Baseball’s investigation of their sign-stealing scandal from the 2017 season, and supervisor Dusty Baker shouldn’t be anticipating a heat welcome.
“It’ll be wild,” Baker informed USA Immediately Sports activities.
The Yankees and their followers have been among the many Astros’ harshest critics since MLB introduced that the group used a center-field digital camera, video monitor and trash can to relay opposing groups’ pitches to Houston hitters through the 2017 season. The Astros defeated the Yankees in seven video games within the 2017 American League Championship Sequence earlier than beating the Dodgers within the World Sequence.
Supervisor AJ Hinch and common supervisor Jeff Luhnow had been suspended for the whole 2020 season — each had been subsequently fired by the staff — and the Astros had been fined $5 million and misplaced two draft picks as a part of MLB’s historic punishment of the franchise final 12 months.
However MLB’s resolution to grant immunity to Astros gamers as a part of the investigation drew widespread outrage across the majors, particularly from the Yankees.
“I do not assume there’s any query about how followers are gonna react to them coming into the Stadium,” Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka stated Sunday, in response to the New York Put up. “Whether or not they deserve it, I feel the followers will allow them to know.”
Baker, who was employed final 12 months to switch Hinch, has lengthy maintained that the gamers and coaches concerned within the 2017 scandal have “paid” for his or her errors and has known as out followers who proceed to boo present Astros gamers.
“There’s solely 4 or 5 guys right here who had been even there when the entire thing occurred,” Baker informed reporters Sunday, in response to the Houston Chronicle. “So are individuals booing the particular person? Are they booing the uniform, or are they booing the group?
“Most guys weren’t even right here, together with myself. What are you going to do? You may’t management what individuals do. You may solely management what you do and the way you are feeling.”
Baker added to USA Immediately Sports activities: “So far as I am involved, it needs to be over with.”
Tuesday’s sport (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) will mark the primary time the groups have squared off for the reason that 2019 ALCS — Houston received in six video games — and information of the sign-stealing scandal broke shortly after the Astros misplaced the World Sequence to the Nationals that year.
Yankee Stadium will be restricted to 20% maximum capacity because of COVID-19 regulations Tuesday. Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters he has instructed his players to “not get caught up in all that stuff,” but fans in the Bronx will relish their first opportunity to boo the Astros.
Marc Chalpin, a fan who regularly sits among Yankee Stadium’s “Bleacher Creatures,” told the Post that he plans to attend games Tuesday and Wednesday to boo the Astros, saying “we want them to know they’re a bunch of cheats and their ring means nothing.”
“Like all Yankee fans, we’re 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 to find out they didn’t make it because the Astros cheated makes it even worse. … Not only did they cheat, they didn’t get punished for it. They faced no consequences.”
The Astros, however, have become accustomed to vitriol from opposing teams and fans. Fans in Anaheim tossed trash cans onto the field last month during a game between the Astros and Angels in one of the latest indications that anger over the 2017 scandal still lingers.
“We’re getting booed anywhere we’re at,” catcher Martin Maldonado told reporters Sunday. “We, as a team, love it. We enjoy it. I think it gets the best out of us. We go out there, and we feel like we’re playing playoff baseball every game. I don’t see anything different if we go out there and play our game.”