Hatred for the Houston Astros might be reaching a new level. The team was left for dead after the Tampa Bay Rays took a 3-0 lead in the American League Championship Series. Now the Astros, the team everyone loves to hate, is one win away from another World Series berth.
The Houston Astros cheating scandal
The Houston Astros captured the World Series in 2017 when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers. Two years later, the championship was labeled as tainted as the Astros were found to have cheated during the 2017 season and part of the 2018 season. The Astros were found guilty of using cameras and video monitors to steal signs.
The scandal came to light in 2019 in an article in The Athletic. Former Houston Astros pitcher Mike Fiers went into detail about how the Astros used garbage cans and whistling to relay stolen signals to players. Fiers’ comments prompted MLB to launch an investigation into the matter. It was found the Astros has broken the rules and manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired. The team was also fined $5 million and lost draft picks.
Fiers’ comments didn’t sit well with players and former players. Fiers even received death threats, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. “Whatever, I don’t care,” he said. “I’ve dealt with a lot of death threats before. It’s just another thing on my plate.”
The Astros are still hearing about cheating
The Houston Astros are lucky. Not lucky to be one win away from reaching another World Series, but lucky because no fans were allowed at ballparks in 2020. One fan who won’t forget, however, has been reminding the Astros about their cheating scandal that has slapped a mental asterisk next to their 2017 World Series title.
Because of the pandemic, the Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays have been forced to play their ALCS games at Petco Park to eliminate travel. One fan has been outside the stadium with a megaphone making sure the Astros haven’t been forgotten as being cheaters. One by one, he’s been calling out Astros players and chanting “You are a cheater. Shame on you.”
Even Major League Baseball players were getting into the action of ripping the Astros this year. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer posted a picture of himself on Twitter in early July wearing a t-shirt that read “Houston cheated.” Bauer wrote, “Baseball is back everyone!! Intake testing done, lots of really high tech stuff goin on here but anything to help us win is in, right?!”
The Astros are haunting the haters
The 2020 Major League Baseball season has been nothing short of crazy. The Houston Astros are taking advantage of it and it’s killing the Astros haters. Just when you think the Astros are done, they just keep climbing back.
The Astros didn’t have a great 2020 season. In fact, they and the Milwaukee Brewers didn’t have a winning record but qualified for the postseason as MLB expanded its playoffs during the wacky season played in a pandemic. The regular season consisted of just 60 games and the Astros finished 29-31. They got an automatic postseason berth by finishing second in their division. The last team to make the postseason with a losing record was the 1981 Kansas City Royals at 50-53 during a strike-shortened season.
Astros haters couldn’t take advantage of the sub-.500 year since the Astros were able to extend their season with the playoff berth. Those same haters were ready to celebrate when the Tampa Bay Rays took a 3-0 lead over the Astros in the ALCS. Houston joined the 2004 Boston Red Sox to force a Game 7 after falling behind 3-0 in a seven-game series. As they say, haters are always gonna hate. Those Astros haters may have to withstand another World Series if Houston knocks off the Rays in Game 7.