HOUSTON – Always keep this in mind when discussing Astros, warts and all that from the character theft scandal:
They are a fantastic baseball team.
Think of it differently.
How much enmity would they really evoke from fan bases across the sport and more than a few rival teams if the Astros did not continue to win after the November 2019 scandal?
Instead, in 2020, they advanced to the seventh game of the American League Championship Series, where they lost to the Rays. This season, after winning 95 matches to conquer the AL West crown, the Astros qualified for the World Series for the third time in five years.
They arrived back in Houston on Monday after spending the night in Atlanta, where the Astros kept alive the chance to win their second World Series title within that time frame with a 9-5 victory in Game 5 at Truist Park.
Although Atlanta remains in the lead with a 3-2 league lead, the team will have to beat the Astros once again at Minute Maid Park, where, as no Yankees fan needs to be reminded, they have been hard to beat in the off-season over several year.
The ghosts of the 2017-18 scandal still hover over all the Astros, who are pretty much disgusted outside of Houston.
Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa, three of the ’17 teammates from ’17 on the current Houston list, got serenaded with “Cheats-er! Cheat-er! Cheat-er!” chants through the three matches in Atlanta.
And it was Sesame Street-like compared to what they heard at pretty much every highway stop this regular season, with the Yankee Stadium, Dodger Stadium and RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland leading in vitriol, vitriol that was more or less earned, it must be said.
But even the most die-hard, Astros-hating fans – who in turn are pretty much all outside this city – must admit that the team has a lot of talent.
In fact, they do not give credit and probably never will, and that’s fine. History will be the final referee in this era of Astro’s baseball. And the cold reality is what happened in 2017-18, say, 50 years from now, will likely be seen as a footnote.
The steroid era, where the MLB and Players Association looked the other way as money rolled in while offensive record books were rewritten, will be remembered far more prominently in the future. It did far more to tarnish the reputation of the sport.
Of course, the Astros’ 2017 title will always carry a star.
It is worth remembering and generally accepted that Bobby Thomson knew what came from Ralph Branca in Game 3 of the 1951 playoffs between the Dodgers and Giants, the result of a character theft (although not illegal at the time) that involved a telescope mounted in the centerfield and buzzer wire. But it’s a toss, if it’s ever mentioned, when it comes to Thomson’s Shot Heard ‘Round the World on Polo Grounds’ that sent the Giants to the World Series.
None of them, the Astros made clear before this series started, are their concern.
“A win away from the World Series is bittersweet [last year], and we just want to really show the world that we’re the best team out there, “Correa, a free-agent-to-be, said on the eve of Game 1 about the possibility that this series could serve as a redemption” I think not at all that the noise from outside motivates us. ”
After going 3-on-5 with two RBIs in Sunday’s win, Correa – who not for a second thinks 99% of Yankees fans would not immediately adopt as one of their own in the unlikely event , that Hal Steinbrenner puts the green light for that kind. of mega contract, it will take to sign him – explained the Astros’ mindset in a must-win situation.
“I say, keep fighting,” Correa said. “I’m a big MMA fan and I’ve seen a lot of guys almost knocked out and they’re fighting back to win the match. We were down 3-1. Now we’m still down 3-2. I really believe in if there is one team that can achieve that in this league, it is us. “