The Astros and Dodgers are set to do battle Tuesday night in Dodger Stadium. As things stand, the Astros have a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL West and the Dodgers hold down the top NL wild card spot, 3 1/2 games behind the Giants in the NL West. The Dodgers recently made a gigantic splash in front of the trade deadline and Max Scherzer will make his Dodgers debut Wednesday.
It's fair to say this could be a World Series preview, but first things first.
One might recall the 2017 Astros sign-stealing scandal. They won the World Series over the Dodgers in seven games that year. The Dodgers and their fans have been, well, we'll say a bit peeved since the trashcan-banging details of Houston's cheating scheme were revealed early in 2020. Despite the no-brawl rules during the pandemic season in 2020, this still happened:
The reason we're discussing all this right now is that this series is the first time the Dodgers will host the Astros with fans in attendance since news of the scandal broke.
"Our fans have waited a long time to have these guys at our place," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said (via latimes.com). "And we'll leave it at that."
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Last September, a group of Dodgers fans greeted the Astros' team bus outside Dodger Stadium while banging trash cans and holding signs calling the Astros "cheaters" and the like, but no fans were allowed inside the ballpark.
A good number of L.A. fans who attended Dodgers games in Arizona this past weekend and taunted former Astros outfielder Josh Reddick with "cheater" chants throughout the series.
That's going to look like nothing compared to Tuesday night, when 50,000-plus people are going to pack Dodger Stadium, armed with indignation and ready to spew venom like never before.
"I'm ready for war," Dodgers right fielder Mookie Betts told reporters, despite not being on the 2017 team. "I'm on the Dodgers, so no matter what my emotions are, that's my team."