The winless Oakland A’s are off to their worst start in a quarter-century to open the 2021 Major League Baseball season but they picked up a big victory in the hilarity department on Saturday afternoon against the Houston Astros, who still just can’t shake that pesky cheating scandal.
With no fans in attendance for the vast majority of last year’s MLB season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Astros got off pretty light as far as trolling is concerned and actually got off pretty light as far as punishment goes as well. But that doesn’t mean people have forgotten what happened and that includes the A’s, who took a hilarious shot at the ‘Stros ahead of their Saturday afternoon matchup in Oakland.
The Houston Astros cheating scandal
Just in case you actually have forgotten why the Oakland A’s threw some shade at the Houston Astros on Saturday, here’s a quick reminder.
For quite a while, there were many teams that suspected the Astros were stealing signs during games, especially during the 2017 season in which they won the World Series. And in November 2019, pitcher Mike Fiers, who played for Houston from 2015 to 2017 (and actually now pitches for the A’s) confirmed it to The Athletic, saying the team placed a camera in center field to film the opposing catcher’s signals.
Astros players or coaches would watch the live feed and then relay those signals to the man at the plate using various cues, most notably banging on trash cans with the number of bangs signifying what pitch was coming next.
Soon after Fiers’ interview, MLB launched a full investigation on the matter, which resulted in manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow receiving one-year suspensions. Both were fired the day their suspensions were announced. The Astros were fined $5 million and lost a few draft picks but their World Series win wasn’t vacated, which many people were hoping for, so it’s likely that team owner Jim Crane couldn’t have been too upset with the ruling.
So let’s get to this troll job.
The Oakland A’s played Carrie Underwood’s ‘Before He Cheats’ when announcing the Houston Astros’ starting lineup on Saturday
Over the first two games of their season-opening series with the Oakland A’s, the Houston Astros had already taken a little heat from the fans at Oakland Coliseum, who actually gave their team standing ovations when Astros players Carlos Correa and Yordan Alvarez were hit by pitches.
But the A’s themselves got in on the action on Saturday afternoon as Carrie Underwood’s 2006 cheating anthem, “Before He Cheats,” was blasted over the PA system as Houston’s starting lineup was introduced, much to the delight of the 10,000 fans in attendance — and likely to a large portion of MLB fans in general. Just a phenomenal troll job.
But the Astros got the last laugh.
The ‘Stros got the best revenge
While the Carrie Underwood stunt on Saturday was fantastic, the Oakland A’s certainly weren’t as they were soundly defeated by the Houston Astros for the third straight day, this time by a score of 9-1, which brought the three-day combined score to 26-7 in favor of the Astros.
The A’s have gone just 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position and the bullpen has been absolutely dreadful, giving up 13 runs in 12 1/3 innings. The Saturday loss dropped the A’s to 0-3, their worst start since 1996.
Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference