The combined three-game turnout between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees was 30,787.
It’s a number that roughly fills Yankee Stadium to two-thirds of its capacity, but as things slowly return to normal after a year of limited capacity, empty stadiums and cardboard cutouts in some places, it was hard not to notice the lively atmosphere of these. who watched three pretty convincing games.
It was appropriate that during the week New York State announced its reopening on May 19 and New York City announced the hope of a full reopening by July 1 that the The environment was as loud as it would be with three consecutive regular sales such as the combined crowd of 146,548 who attended all three playoff games in 2019 or the 147,824 that saw the Yankees win all three games against the Astros in 2017.
Or maybe it was as loud as it could have been in September if the original schedule was played and the sport wasn’t reduced to 60 games with no fans and no divisional play due to the COVID pandemic- 19 which started on March 11, 2020.
There was plenty of reason to believe that the atmosphere would be lively in the series given all the infamy that has unfolded since the 2019 ALCS reunion that was decided on the Jose Altuve circuit on the slider d ‘Aroldis Chapman in Game 6.
Shortly after the Astros lost in seven games to the Nationals, details of the sign theft scandal were revealed. And they were ugly findings with revelations of a ploy to steal signs by banging someone on trash cans in an area out of sight and near the canoe.
It was a program that cost three people managerial jobs, either permanently or temporarily.
Carlos beltran was appointed director of the Mets on November 1, 2019 and on January 16, 2020 he was replaced by Luis Rojas for his role in the scandal revealed by Mike Fiers.
AJ Hinch was fired and then suspended for the whole of last season before resurfacing to manage the Detroit Tigers. Alex Cora was suspended for the whole of last season as the Boston Red Sox stumbled in last place and then returned to the Red Sox, who currently lead the AL East.
Even with those moves, three key players remained for the 2017 Team Astros along with Altuve and Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. So it’s no surprise that they suffered most of the heckling, though perhaps it was really noticeable how the limited-capacity crowd made it feel like a sale in October.
For three days, they peppered Altuve with a clear chant that contained a four-letter curse, doing so whenever his name was mentioned or whenever he entered the batter’s box. There was secular chants for Bregman when he did a home run and more secular chants for Correa.
And when they weren’t heckling the Astros with a variety of chants, including “We Don’t Know You” towards Kyle Tucker, there were other noises such as Giancarlo Stanton’s bat sound produced when he succeeded in every game, had eight hits and led in nine races.
“It was the energy of the playoffs, even though we’re not at full capacity,” Stanton said Tuesday. “It was fun. They brought noise.
“The energy that has been created, we haven’t seen that since 2019,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Thursday afternoon was Altuve’s 31st birthday and the heckling and relentless taunts presented a new wrinkle, a secular version of “Happy Birthday.” In the end, Altuve was able to celebrate by hitting a Chad Green fastball into the left-field seats for a homerun that prevented fans from seeing a Yankee sweep in a series that sounded normal with its high volume even though the capacity is limited.
“I’ve said that before and people were mad at me – we were here in 17 in the playoffs and I pitched here in Game 5, and that’s probably because it’s not at full capacity, but I promise you it was just as bad or maybe even worse, “said Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr.” These are passionate fans who are going to let you know. But we’re OK. We knew to what to expect. We are all grown men here and we know what to do. “
“It was on time. He couldn’t have scripted it better, “said Houston manager Dusty Baker.” We had great success today, period. But nothing bigger than his. It was huge. And that calmed the fans for a little while. I can’t tell you how happy everyone in the dugout was for Jose because he’s one of the best guys you’ve ever met in this game. “
It’s unclear what might have turned out differently if the Astros hadn’t been involved in the program in 2017. Maybe they still beat the Yankees and win the World Series or maybe the Yankees win the World Series. World Series and retain Joe Girardi because it would be difficult to justify parting with a manager after a championship.
Those assumptions aren’t that far off, but for three days a limited-capacity crowd reminded us of other things from the past, the normality of the cacophony of loud noises from a large crowd at a baseball game.