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OAKLAND -- Well, that was to be expected.
From the moment A’s fans trickled into the the Coliseum on Opening Day on Thursday, the booing toward the Houston Astros could be heard across Rickey Henderson Field, and it wasn’t just because of the limited capacity.
“Cheaters!” was belted out, followed by a boastful chirp that mentioned the term “trash can.” It sounded like José Altuve and Alex Bregman received the brunt of it, along with some words that my boss would never let me publish here.
This was bound to happen as A’s fans have waited an entire season since Oakland starter Mike Fiers unearthed the Astros stole signs electronically during their 2017 World Series run. MLB conducted a thorough investigation, and the team was fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under the MLB constitution, and Houston was forced to forfeit its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Later on, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch both were fired.
The trash can signifies the instrument the Astros banged on to relay messages to the batter when a specific pitch was coming.
And then there was this:
Last season, due to the coronavirus pandemic, fans were unable to attend games, pushing back the inevitable crowd reaction.
Fiers will not pitch in this series, as he landed on the injured list due to inflammation in his hip/back area. After he told The Athletic about the sign-stealing, he received death threats, while Astros fans refer to him as a rat.
This won’t end with the A’s, however. The entire league showed how angry they were, including Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly, who mocked them, going so far as to throw at their heads. He was suspended for five games for it.
Expect this to continue, especially between the A's and Astros, for a very long time.