There were some familiar sounds at Yankee Stadium early in the Bombers’ 7-3 win over the Astros.
A roll call and a “Let’s Go Yankees” chant each were heard briefly.
But they were merely mixed into what the fans were really there for, as the hated Astros made their first trip to The Bronx since their sign-stealing scheme became public.
First came the boos for leadoff hitter Jose Altuve, followed shortly by “F–k Altuve,” which quickly transformed into “F–k the Astros.”
Two batters later, Alex Bregman — after hearing a chant of “a–hole” from the crowd that was still limited to 20 percent capacity due to COVID regulations — gave fans another reason to boo, taking Domingo German out into the seats in left with a home run.
As soon as the gates opened for Tuesday’s series opener against Houston, Yankees fans who were deprived of a chance to go after the players last season, when the pandemic prevented fans — and the Astros — from coming to Yankee Stadium streamed in.
The scandal cost manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow their jobs and the Astros organization a fine and lost draft picks, but the players emerged unscathed due to immunity granted to them by commissioner Rob Manfred for their cooperation in MLB’s investigation that ended in January 2020. That probe found the Astros had used an illegal electronic sign-stealing scheme during their 2017 World Series victory.
There was nothing the league could do about the fans Tuesday.
David Taub, wearing a “Trashstros” t-shirt and a garbage can hanging from his waist to his ankles said, “We waited two years to do this. … We are not going to let them loose now.”
And the fans didn’t wait for the game to start to go after the Astros, jeering throughout Houston’s batting practice, saving their loudest boos for Altuve.
They chanted “Houston Cheaters” and “You’re a cheater” as the Astros warmed up — all while cheering German as he walked to the bullpen prior to his start, waving his arms to encourage the crowd.
The lead-up to the series led to many questions of both the Yankees and Astros about what was justified and what wasn’t, particularly because most of the guilty parties aren’t in Houston anymore.
“It’s not my place to tell fans how to react,’’ Aaron Boone said before Tuesday’s game. “I know we have as passionate a fan base as there is in our sport and I’m sure they’re aware a very good team is coming in to play us.”
Prior to the series, like Boone, most of the Astros tried to downplay the significance of recent history on this year’s teams.
“These guys are big boys,’’ current Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “They’re men. To address it wouldn’t do any good. You don’t want to have them fearful or apprehensive of something that may not happen. There’s no way to really prepare for this except to go out and play. … You have to try to play the same game here that you play elsewhere.”
But the fans weren’t interested in that.
“I’m sure it’s been very heavy in a lot of ways over the last couple years,’’ Boone said of the weight the Astros’ players have carried since the scandal. “A lot of times, if you make the bed , you’ve got to live with it. I’m sure there’s been some challenges for them over the past couple years.”
The Astros entered the game having played better on the road than at home, with an 8-6 record away from Houston and 7-7 at home.
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