One of the great losses of the 2020 MLB season is that, with no fans in the stands, Astros players haven’t been vociferously booed at every road game, after an offseason they were officially branded cheaters during the 2017 season, including the World Series.
They beat the Dodgers in seven games in that World Series, and after the report last offseason of the Astros malfeasance, coupled with their lackluster apologies, Houston cemented itself as villains of the sport. The tension was obvious on the field during the Dodgers’ two games in Houston in July, when Joe Kelly threw near Alex Bregman’s head, the benches cleared, and Kelly was subsequently suspended five games.
The Dodgers weren’t even supposed to play the Astros this season, but with the truncated and regional 60-game schedule they matched up. It was a real monkey’s paw situation for Dodgers fans that were itching for the Astros to return to Los Angeles so they could make their feelings known, but with the stadium closed to fans the options were limited.
A group of fans on Saturday made the most of an imperfect situation, setting up shop outside the Stadium Way entrance to Dodger Stadium, congregating at the corner of Stadium Way and Vin Scully Avenue.
Here are some pictures from Saturday’s protest:
Some fans held and banged trash cans. Among the signs at the event:
- “Once a cheater, always a cheater”
- “This will follow you forever”
- “Asterisk Shame Tour *”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts saw the protesting fans as he drove into Dodger Stadium.
“I loved it,” Roberts said on a conference call Saturday. “I think that they have every right to do whatever they feel to express their their feelings. I thought it was great. It just shows the passion the Dodger fans have.”
The protesting fans on the street weren’t alone.
A plane flew overhead at Dodger Stadium trailing a “Houston cheats, bang bang” sign. Jorge Castillo at the Los Angeles Times talked to Dodgers fan David Yontz, who organized the GoFundMe to pay for it:
“Everything with the 2017 series hurt, even without the cheating and then you add the cheating and it just really hurt,” Yontz said. “And I think part of the hurt continues because there wasn’t really any closure because, in my opinion, Commissioner Manfred’s punishment was practically nonexistent.”
The passion is evident even if the payoff is relatively small. After all, the Astros team buses only passed for a fleeting moment as they entered the stadium. No fans were at the stadium to see the plane.
But it sure seemed cathartic for those involved, and a year that has been an overwhelming tsunami of bad news, you take what you can get.