But it wasn’t long before they realized the evening wouldn’t go according to their plan; stadium personnel quickly approached them to confiscate most of the signs.
Matthew Silliman, one of the sign-holders, said he had no idea they were forbidden. He had even driven all the way from Tampa Bay just to make sure the Astros know what he thinks of them.
“I’m a big Nats fan, and it’s wrong,” he said. “They’re cheaters.”
Last month, the Astros majorly violated the rules as confirmed by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred when they used a television camera to steal catchers’ signs during their race to the 2017 World Series title – and then, to everyone’s surprise, it happened again in the 2018 season. Although the managers AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were ultimately fired, the players were not disciplined.
And people aren’t happy.
The result was a Series rematch, where the Nats got hearty cheers and everyone in an Astros jersey got boos, even though no players implicated in the scandal played.
Now that spring training is here, people want the Astros to know that the incident is far from forgotten.
Even after the many signs were confiscated, fans weren’t deterred from making their feelings known – booing loudly every time the public address announcer said “Astros.” One fan wearing a Nationals jersey yelled: “Hey Altuve, are you scared to play tonight?” Others screamed, “You suck!” and, “Cheaters!”
First-year Houston manager Dusty Baker seemed to anticipate a much worse reception, saying that it wasn’t “too bad” and said his team will have to get used to it for the time being.
“You’ll probably get the same reception most places you go, especially the first go-round,” he said. “So, you’ve just got to put your big-boy pants on and then just try to shut it out and just play baseball and realize this too shall pass.”
Max Scherzer of the Nationals said, “We won the World Series, so it wasn’t like I have a vendetta to hold. So, for me over here, we’re just trying to move forward and get ready for our season.”