Astros Confiscate Signs From Heckling Nationals Fans at Spring Training Game

John Healy
February 23, 2020 - 11:32 am

Now the fans are getting their signs taken away by the Houston Astros.

Saturday marked the start of the Grapefruit League season for the Astros, who opened against the Washington Nationals in a World Series rematch at the spring training ballpark that the two teams actually share.

While the Astros were the home team, there were plenty of Nationals fans in attendance, some of whom were ready to unload on Houston after the team was founded to have illegally stolen signs through use of technology en route to its 2017 World Series championship.

Two fans sitting behind the Astros dugout held up signs that read “You see my hate?” and another sign that said “Houston” and included the asterisk symbol (*) below it to signify the team’s championship is invalid.

However, a stadium employee confiscated the signs from the two fans not long after they arrived at the ballpark despite the mild nature of the signs. They were reportedly told that signs were not permitted in the ballpark.

One of the fans, Matthew Silliman, told The Associated Press that he drove all the way from Tampa, Fla. to West Palm Beach for the game to let the Astros know how he feels.

“I’m a big Nats fan, and it’s wrong,” he said. “They’re cheaters.”

None of the players from the 2017 team played in Saturday’s game, which was rained out after two innings, but the Astros were relentlessly booed and heckled by fans in attendance. Even the Astros’ mascot, Orbit, was booed during player introductions.

Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers Jr. were all heckled as they watched the game from the top of the dugout steps as fans also banged their seats — imitating the trash can scheme the team devised in 2017.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred granted players immunity in the league’s investigation, which has angered many who believe the players should be punished for their role in the scandal, and continues to defend his decision. Manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were both suspended for the season and subsequently fired by the organization.

The team was also stripped of four draft picks and fined a maximum $5 million, but they did not have their World Series title vacated.

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