There were more signs at Angel Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, and fans expressing their displeasure at the Astros, who are finally playing in front of fans for the first time since their punishment for an elaborate sign-stealing scheme became public.
Anaheim saw a “Trash’stros*” sign on Tuesday:
As well as a fan holding a “Fire Manfred” umbrella nearing the Astros dugout, a common sentiment felt around the game last year that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was too light on the Astros for their cheating during the 2017 regular season and postseason.
The headline moments came in Monday night’s game, when one fan threw an inflatable trash can onto the field, sort of a beach ball equivalent in many respects. But then later in the game, someone at Angel Stadium threw an actual trash can onto the field.
Dusty Baker, the well-respected baseball lifer who was hired in Houston to try to restore credibility amid a mess last year, took exception to the harsh response to the Astros on their road trip. From Alden Gonzalez at ESPN:
“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.”
I get what Baker’s doing here. He’s sticking up for his team, like any good manager would. But I’m not sure the Astros actually paid for their mistakes, at least not the ones still in uniform with the team. A.J. Hinch was fired in Houston and Alex Cora was fired in Boston, but both are managing again this year. The Astros lost some draft picks and paid a $5 million fine, but they bungled the apologies last year from the start, and owner Jim Crane took no responsibility for all of it happening on his watch.
Nobody is calling for the Astros to be threatened, and no fans should literally throw things at the team. But you don’t need to steal signs to know what was coming this year. Nobody got to boo the Astros last season during the pandemic, so 2021 is making up for lost time. And the Astros need to shut up and take it. They earned it.
- Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic digs into the David Fletcher contract extension, and some of the motivation behind it: “Part of the reason was concern that the arbitration system would not have rewarded him properly as a second baseman who is neither much of a home-run or stolen-base threat.”
- Rhett Bollinger at MLB.com has more on Dylan Bundy’s excellent start on Tuesday.
- J.P. Hoornstra at the Orange County Register wrote about 6’10 reliever Aaron Slegers not being a power pitcher.
- Kevin Goldstein at FanGraphs wrote about the importance of not just fastball velocity but fastball shape.