WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Only the slog to come will determine whether the 2020 Astros’ unique journey will be successful.
Already, though, we know this: It’s gonna be arduous. Example number, let’s say, 507 arrived Saturday night.
The Astros opened their Grapefruit League schedule with a home game, here at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Didn’t matter. They didn’t deploy a single member from their 2017 championship squad. Didn’t matter. The contest lasted just two innings before rain canceled the rest of the proceedings. Didn’t matter.
Opposing fans are out for vengeance in the wake of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that has rocked this sport, and they’ll take it wherever and however they can find it. In this 2019 World Series rematch, fans of the Nationals, with whom the Astros share this state-of-the-art complex, overtook the place and voiced their bitterness loudly, proudly and cleverly.
Consider that, every time an Astro came to bat against Nats starter Max Scherzer in those first two innings, a couple of wiseacre fans banged an empty nearby seat … similar to how the ’17 Astros banged a garbage can to tell their teammates what pitch was coming…