Chris Perez came on to get the save in last night’s Indians-White Sox game. He closed it out with a strikeout of A.J. Pierzynski and by inducing a groundout by Alex Rios. Then, as closers are wont to do, he gesticulated and emoted some, with a few fist pumps and huzzahs. This did not please Rios:
After the borderline strike to Pierzynski went his way, Perez celebrated with a strong fist pump on the mound. When Rios made contact on his game-ending play, Perez once again started yelling, and Rios didn’t understand what he was doing or appreciate the actions. He had more than a few words for Perez as he was running back to the White Sox dugout, but the situation didn’t come close to escalating into something more.
“Well, I don’t know what was wrong with him,” said Rios with a wry smile. “He just started yelling for no reason. I don’t know why he started yelling, and that’s it.”
I’m on Rios’ side here. I mean really, how great a trick is it to retire Alex Rios? Why is that anything worthy of celebrating? Now, if it were Paul Konerko or someone sure, but Rios? Pfft! Child’s play.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.