The 2021 MLB regular season is underway and Houston Astros are playing meaningful games in front of fans for the first time since the sign-stealing scandal became public last offseason. The Astros went on the road to face the Oakland Athletics in their season-opener (GameTracker).
Not surprisingly, Astros players were loudly booed during pregame introductions, and mock garbage can bangs could be heard throughout the small crowd. Here's some audio and video:
Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, two members of the 2017 Astros teams that was at the center of the sign-stealing scandal, heard the loudest boos during during introductions, and were booed throughout their first inning at-bats. Altuve flew out on the first pitch and Bregman grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Astros played in front of small crowds in spring training both last year prior to the shutdown and again this year, and they were booed and jeered throughout, though spring training crowds are typically more subdued than regular season crowds. Houston did not play any 2020 regular season or postseason games with crowds.
As a reminder, commissioner Rob Manfred said part of the club's punishment would be public shaming. The commissioner essentially sanctioned booing and mock garbage can bangs, and the Astros will surely hear it each time they go to a new city this year.
The A's opened the season at about 20 percent capacity, or roughly 9,400 fans. The crowd in Oakland is known to be raucous and lively, and even with only 9,400 fans in the seats, and they let the Astros hear it Thursday. They've been waiting more than a year to boo them.