Dodgers fans: This is a bang-up Astros bobblehead

Bill Shaikin
LA Times

Not even a pandemic can make Dodgers fans forget. In 2017, the Dodgers lost the World Series to the Houston Astros, now and forever branded as cheaters by Major League Baseball because of a sign-stealing scandal.

The Los Angeles City Council asked MLB to strip the Astros of their title, but that didn’t happen. Some 3,000 fans purchased tickets to boo the Astros at Angel Stadium because the Astros were not scheduled to play at Dodger Stadium this year, but the coronavirus outbreak wiped out the game.

If baseball plays an abbreviated and regionalized 2020 season, the Astros could indeed play the Dodgers, but almost certainly without fans in attendance. How can Dodgers fans find an outlet for their frustration?

The St. Paul Saints are here to help.

The Saints, an independent minor league team in Minnesota, are all about goofy promotions. Comedian Bill Murray is one of the team’s owners. So is Mike Veeck, who once staged “Disco Demolition Night” for the Chicago White Sox. Veeck’s motto: “Fun is good.”

As the Saints’ staffers planned the 2020 promotional schedule, they plotted how to roast the newly sanctioned Astros. A trash can? Of course. Inside? Knockoffs of Oscar the Grouch and Orbit, the Astros’ mascot, carefully designed to skirt copyright violations.

The Saints turned the item into a bobblehead doll. Push the button, and you’ll hear a couple of bangs, or perhaps a particular pitch called out.

The Astros' Cameron Maybin, left, and George Springer celebrate after Houston beat the Dodgers in Game 7 to win the 2017 World Series. Earlier this year, MLB concluded that the Astros illegally stole signs that season. <span class="copyright">(Harry How / Getty Images)</span>
The Astros' Cameron Maybin, left, and George Springer celebrate after Houston beat the Dodgers in Game 7 to win the 2017 World Series. Earlier this year, MLB concluded that the Astros illegally stole signs that season. (Harry How / Getty Images)

The Saints had announced July 31 as “Astro the Grouch” bobblehead night, but that game might never be played. So, on Thursday, the Saints announced that the bobbleheads would be sold online, with a portion of the proceeds directed to a children’s charity. The announcement said the bobbleheads would be available to any fan, including “a Dodgers fan in Los Angeles, a Yankees fan in New York, a Nationals fan in Washington, D.C., or even an Astros fan with a sense of humor.”

In the first four hours, the Saints sold 1,000 bobbleheads, team vice president Sean Aronson said. If the Saints do play this season, Aronson said, they would distribute the bobbleheads at a game as well.

Aronson conceded that most people in Minnesota do not truly hate the Astros. But his motives are not entirely pure either.

“I’m originally from Los Angeles. I’m a huge Dodger fan,” he said. “To say that I was upset at what happened a couple years ago would be a huge understatement.”

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