Sorry we cried wolf last week when it became official that Houston was going to attempt to scare the Dodgers out of town, coinciding their announcement that they were expanding their crowd with Game 1 of this rivalry showdown.
We thought a bunch of weasel Astros fans were going to full-throated boo LA as if they were the cheaters, the essence of “whataboutism” distilled into a stadium full of 2017 champions crying victim.
What we got? An absolute ton of Dodger fans, an easy Clayton Kershaw victory, and a redemptive statement game.
In a pretty excellent development, Pantone 294 managed to secure a wide swath of tickets at Minute Maid Park, presumably because they offered to pay money for them while Astros fans tried to barter grain and hogs in exchange for seats.
By the time this one reached the late innings, there was a tightly-packed crowd taunting people. It was Dodgers fans, waving goodbye to Houstonians as they rushed for the exits.
The Dodgers took over the Houston Astros’ “full capacity” crowd.
Ah, rats! That’s not how this was supposed to go at all! Sorry for you!
While it may not have been a “master plan” to welcome fans back in droves just in time for this Astros “home game,” MLB definitely situated the schedule in a way that maximized their ability to pack stadiums in time for rivalry matchups. On the east coast, the Yankees and Red Sox haven’t even played yet, for instance.
If we could’ve scripted a game for a “full Houston crowd” to see, though, it would’ve been this one. A 5-0 game heading into the bottom of the seventh, Alex Bregman’s home run briefly silenced his own home crowd, cutting the deficit to four.
No worries! A three-spot in the top of the eighth later, and suddenly you had what felt like the entire stadium chanting for Joe Kelly to get the final out of the inning, the auditory equivalent of a derisive sneer.
Once again, so sorry, Houston! This was not what you wanted!
Now, at least, you can somewhat legitimately play the victim. Your plan was foiled, and the good guys showed up to wave goodbye to you.
Following the game, Gavin Lux caught up with the FOX Sports MLB crew, and thanked Dodgers fans for arriving in droves and turning what should’ve been an intimidating experience into something that approximated a home game.
As it should always be.
When Rob Manfred declined to punish the Astros in any tangible way, he claimed that their real punishment would always lie in the court of public opinion, and fans would be able to have their say for as long as they wanted to. Of course, 2020 put a stop to that, too, depriving crowds of even the most hollow type of justice.
On Tuesday night, Dodgers fans reclaimed the narrative just a little bit, while their extremely proud team on the field managed to put a halt to the Astros’ attempt to reassert themselves atop the league.
Most importantly, Kershaw’s curveball secured a few more swings-and-misses than the last time he went on the road to this ballpark. Wonder why?