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Los Angeles Angels fans throw trash cans and scoff at Houston Astros in the win

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ANAHEIM, California – A gray, life-size, inflatable trash can was hoisted over the scoreboard on the right field and made its way onto the Angel Stadium warning trail at the end of Monday’s sixth inning, the last – perhaps most eye-catching – indication of the anger still raging around the Houston Astros.

Moments later, with Jose Altuve at work, a real garbage can ended up in almost the exact same spot, spilling a handful of plastic bottles as it collided with the dirt and pausing play again.

The animosity, persistent over a four-hour game from the 13,447 fans in attendance, was a continuation of what the Astros experienced this weekend in Oakland, but this time they didn’t win despite that.

“You can see the amount of hostility and the amount of hatred in the stands,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said after a dramatic 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, dropping his team’s record to 4-1. “How many in the stands have never done anything wrong in their lives? We’ve paid the price for it. How many people haven’t cheated on a test or whatever at some point. I mean it’s easy when you’re in glasses. houses, but I don’t think anyone lives in glass houses.

“I think sometimes we have to look at ourselves before you hate someone else. It’s a sad situation for America, for me, when you hear things – I mean, what are the kids to think in the stands? parents follow. It’s sad for me. People make mistakes. We paid for ours and I wish they would leave it alone. “

One of the many loud “Astros suck!” chants broke out after the second garbage can fell on the field. There were also lingering chants of “cheaters!” and “Where’s your trash can?” Not to mention deafening booing for the likes of Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel, central figures of an Astros team punished for using a complicated sign-stealing system, including hitting trash cans during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The Astros initially dominated by the noise, sweeping an Oakland Athletics team they lost seven times out of ten during the regular season last year. They hit .320 / .398 / .565, pitched a 2.00 ERA and outperformed the A’s with a combined 26 points in a run of four games.

The Angels series started the same way. Altuve was booed noisily as he walked to the batter’s box to start the game, then hit a sharp infield-single on the first pitch. Gurriel got chants of “cheater” and singled to the right. Fans slapped on the edge of the top deck for Bregman, who hit a sinking liner that sprayed past the glove of Angel’s left field Justin Upton to hit a run. And Correa mocked fans and asked, “Where’s your trash can?” before leading a single to the other field to give the Astros a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

The Angels eventually came back and scored four runs off Joe Smith and Blake Taylor in the eighth inning. But Altuve, Bregman, Gurriel and Correa – four prominent players struggling through the shortened 2020 season – now hit a combined .397 / .489 / .577 to kick off the season.

“We go out to play a game, and the fans do what they want,” said Astros catcher Martin Maldonado. “They will be loud. But I think that will give us a little more motivation. We feel like we are in the playoffs in the fifth game of the season.”

Kolton Freeman, Will Wraith, Cooper Harbuck and Haley Harbuck arrived with ready-made signals to deceive the Astros and felt the support early on. Before they were allowed in, they had to hold up their plates for security to inspect.

“They stood for about five minutes and just held them up,” Haley said, “and the number of punches they just got in the stadium — people knew what we were going for, the message we were sending them. felt as if you were sitting here as an audience, that you were being listened to. “

One of the signs read: Yo, do you need an extra buzzer?

The other: Astros cannot hang

The other: Had a nice board planned for the week, but the Astros stole it!

Mike, Jack and Nicole Zerkel, who paid $ 1,600 for four tickets to the Astros during the Angels’ home opener last year, before the COVID-19 pandemic caused a regular season without fans, had custom ‘cheater’ masks and T-shirts. Nicole, one of the many Los Angeles Dodgers fans in the crowd, called the experience “ very satisfying. ”

“It feels good to let go of your frustration.”

Dyan Nava was driving 137 miles from Apple Valley, California, with a sign that read: If you’re looking for a sign from God, the Astros probably stole it! She’s a teacher and she wanted to send the message that “it’s not okay to cheat”.

And then there was Ivan Gonzalez, who wore a retro Altuve jersey and Astros cap and sat on the top deck, all the way in the right corner, while fans scolded his favorite team. Born and raised in Houston, Gonzalez raised his three children to be Astros fans, but his wife, Danielle, is a diehard Dodgers fan.

“That season is over and over,” Ivan said of 2017, which ended when the Astros beat the Dodgers in seven World Series games. “They have taken their punishment. It’s a new day, a new season. I’m going to encourage my team.”

While eating his nachos in the fourth inning, Altuve navigated a six-pitch at bat. He hit a ball on the fifth pitch and the crowd went wild when a fan threw the baseball back onto the field of play. On the next pitch, he recorded his second hit of the night. Ivan believes the Astros derive motivation from the vitriol they experience.

Their manager would rather they distance themselves from it.

“You can’t carry that scarlet letter with you all your life,” Baker said. “We paid the price. How many times can you say you’re sorry? That’s all you can do. All you can do is get on with your life. There are not many saints on this earth, and if there are, I don’t recognize them. “

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