It's the moment every Dodgers fan dreams of. Two outs, bottom of the ninth. The only thing standing between you and the final out of a crucial victory is former Astros shortstop Carlos Correa.
He grits his teeth and digs into the box. After setting his feet, he looks up slowly and sneers at you, ready for one-on-one combat. You stare in for the sign as the pitch clock ticks down. Before you can wind and fire, though, Correa scampers out of the box terrified. "He knows my secret and he's going to tell everyone! I can't face him!" Correa whelps. "Too scary! I'm sorry I cheated, he's gonna hit me!"
That last part might not have happened to White Sox reliever Keynan Middleton, but the Chicago closer and ex-Angels hurler enjoyed every bit of striking out Correa as the tying run in Wednesday's Twins-ChiSox showdown.
According to Middleton, he relished it a little bit extra because of his personal history -- and, well, every MLB player's now-personal history -- with the Astros and their way of doing things.
Yes, MLB players still believe Carlos Correa is a cheater. It's not just Dodgers fans.
Consider Middleton, a former Angel, to be an honorary Dodger for a day.
See? It's not just Dodgers fans who "can't get over" 2017. And not "everyone was doing it," it would seem! There are still guys like Middleton, throughout the league, who look at Correa in the batting order, say, "I would like to get that cheater out," and then go ahead and get that cheater out.
Correa's start to the 2023 season has been less than inspiring. After watching two separate long-term deals erode in an offseason for the ages, he returned to the Twins, who seem like the cream of the uninspiring AL Central crop. Through 102 at-bats, Correa is hitting .206 with a .287 OBP and .650 OPS.
Eventually, Correa will smash a clutch dinger and point to his watch again, indicating that it's his "time". For now, though, it's "time" for opposing pitchers to relish in his recent struggles. Hopefully, he hasn't found his stroke by the time the Twins and Dodgers face off.