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NEW YORK – For about 45 minutes, David Taub’s plan worked perfectly. Weeks earlier, he had spent $ 85 on an Oscar the Grouch costume from Amazon.com. A few days earlier, he had visited Yankee Stadium to confirm that he would be allowed to wear it on Tuesday, the Astros’ first visit to the Bronx since the world learned they had cheated on the way to their 2017 title. from Houston stole posters with an illegal camera and then broadcast them to hitters by hitting a trash can; Taub was delighted with the idea of being able to welcome them to the city locked in their own garbage can.
When he arrived wearing the costume and holding a sign that said YOU ARE NOT STEALING THIS COSTUME TRASH, it caused laughter and cameras. Unfortunately, it also attracted security attention. “Our policy changed,” he said the guard told him. Taub said the guard added that the Astros had complained to MLB about fans in other cities, and MLB had told the Yankees to toughen their rules. (The Astros, Yankees and MLB did not immediately return a request for comment.)
So Taub walked up a hill across the street from the ballpark, rolled the costume into a ball, and buried it among a group of rocks. He turned the sign over and scribbled: MY FRIEND HAD A SIGN LIKE THIS, BUT THE TRASHTERS STOLE IT.
Then he and Jacob Naghimson, a classmate at Touro College in Manhattan, made their way to the left field bleachers, “where the good fans are,” Taub said, and set out to make themselves heard.
“I don’t feel like they’ve been punished enough, and that’s what the fans are here to do,” Taub said before the game, referring to the commissioner’s decision to offer players immunity in exchange for their cooperation. “Rob Manfred didn’t do his job, so we’re here to do it for him.”
They promised to boo loudly and creatively, using Wikipedia to personalize their boos to the players they believed were the biggest blame for the scandal: second baseman José Altuve, shortstop Carlos Correa and third baseman Alex Bregman. Nearby, fans urged kids to return the Astros’ batting practice home runs. Taub and Naghimson applauded his efforts.
“We are doing this for the children,” Naghimson explained, laughing. “This is what happens when you make bad decisions. This is not for us. This is for the good of society. We can’t have cheats. “
“We are heroes of the people,” Taub said. “We are here to try to undo what they did.”
“This is like community service,” Naghimson added.
The Astros’ path to that tainted title led through the Yankees; consequently, most of Yankee Stadium appeared to be made up of “heroes of the people” on Tuesday. Only 10,850 fans (20% of capacity) were allowed into the building to see New York win 7-3, but when the Yankees took the lead in the sixth inning, the stadium shook under their feet. Michael Lyons sported the results of an eBay shopping spree: a HOUSTON CHEATERS mask and a T-shirt with ASTROS on the front and CHEATERS 17 on the back, plus patches that said GOT CUGHT and WORLD SERIES CHEATERS, which he sewed. Robert Roque printed 78 signs, half reading CURVEBALL and half reading SLIDER, and handed them out to nearby fans, who held them up during the Astros at bat. Milton Ousland, the official Cowbell Man of Yankee Stadium, circumvented the no desecration rule by leading his neighbors in a “MotherTucker” chant directed at right fielder Kyle Tucker. (This only briefly distracted them from their preferred “F — Altuve” comment; security gave them eight tickets before threatening to evict them.)
Some fans were able to sneak into trash cans smaller than Taub’s. Ryan Donohue happened to have a 12-inch-tall plush Oscar the Grouch; pasted on an Astros logo and added a mask with the inscription BANG! Chico Heano wore a small plastic trash can around his neck and occasionally hit it with a pencil shaped like a baseball bat. And two people from section 203 smuggled in inflatable garbage cans, which they blew up in their seats and promptly confiscated. (Bleacher’s creatures briefly hit one like a beach ball.)
“It was taken from him in two minutes,” said Sam, who declined to give his last name because he works for a political campaign. “It was the best $ 20 I have ever spent in my life.”
As fans got drunk, the taunting turned to cruelty, with insults to players’ wives and suggestions that Yankees pitchers throw at the Astros. And sometimes the response was blatantly absurd: When starting pitchers headed to the bullpens to warm up before the game, fans booed Astro Zack Greinke, who was Diamondback in 2017, and they cheered at Yankee Domingo Germán, who was suspended 81 games. for domestic matches assault.
Afterward, the Houston players insisted they hadn’t noticed the vitriol, but the Bleacher Creatures celebrated when Aaron Judge threw a ball past Tucker for a single in the eighth inning.
“We got to him!” Sam said. “Write that down.”
Astros manager Dusty Baker said the crowd really mattered. “It sounded like a full house tonight, although it wasn’t,” he said afterward. “We expected that reception. We’ll probably have more of that tomorrow and the next day. “
This is the only trip from Houston to New York this year, but the reception may last longer than that. After the game, Taub climbed the hill again and dug in the rocks. The costume was still there, which was a relief – he wants to follow the Astros on the road.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.