Astros, Jose Altuve booed loudly during first game at Yankee Stadium since sign-stealing scandal

Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees are meeting for the first time since the 2019 ALCS, and the first time since Houston’s sign-stealing scandal became public after that season. Regional play prevented the two non-division rivals from playing during the 60-game 2020 regular season, and they did not meet last postseason.

As expected, the Astros were greeted with boos from the limited capacity Yankee Stadium crowd before the game even began. The Astros were booed throughout batting practice — “You’re a Cheat-Er!” and “Houst-On Cheat-Ed!” were popular chants — and fans wore shirts and brought signs referencing the sign-stealing scandal, including garbage cans.

The boos of course continued into the game (GameTracker). Jose Altuve, the game’s first batter, was showered with sustained boos and expletive-laden chants throughout his first inning at-bat. Listen to this:

Alex Bregman also heard sustained boos during his first inning at-bat, though he temporarily shut the crowd up with a solo home run to left field off Domingo Germán for a quick 1-0 lead. Even Astros players who were not part of the 2017 team heard boos, including Michael Brantley and Zack Greinke. Altuve and Bregman were also booed when they fielded ground balls defensively.

Houston’s lead and the crowd’s silence did not last long. Giancarlo Stanton swatted a towering two-run home run off Greinke in the bottom of the first inning, prompting the crowd to resume booing and chanting. Fans were on their feet throughout the first inning as the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs, and added on to their lead.

Following Stanton’s home run, Aaron Judge was serenaded with “M! V! P!” chants during his at-bat. He was the runner-up to Altuve in the AL MVP voting in 2017. Judge has said Houston’s 2017 World Series title and Altuve’s MVP trophy are tainted by the sign-stealing scandal. “It didn’t really mean the same,” he said last February.

The Astros and Yankees have been frequent postseason opponents in recent years. Houston eliminated New York in the 2015 Wild Card Game, the 2017 ALCS, and the 2019 ALCS. MLB’s investigation determined the Astros stole signs electronically during their 2017 World Series championship season and early in 2018 as well.

Houston has been booed in every road stadium this season — Angels fans threw garbage cans on the field last month — though nowhere near as loud as at Yankee Stadium. Yankees fans feel wronged given the postseason history and everyone has 13 months of pandemic angst built up, and they’re taking it out on the Astros. 

The Yankees and Astros will play three games at Yankee Stadium this week. They’ll meet again for a three-game weekend series in Houston from July 9-11.

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