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If Oscar the Grouch were a Yankees fan, he couldn’t have pulled off the Revenge Look any better than David Taub.
Taub arrived at Yankee Stadium at 5 p.m. Tuesday with green fur around his arms and a black “Trashstros” T-shirt wrapped around the top of the baggy Halloween costume garbage can hanging from his waist to his ankles.
Yes, the Astros were making their first visit since the sign-stealing scandal that broke in 2020 and tainted Houston’s 2017 World Series title and subsequent two playoff runs. They eliminated the Yankees twice.
“We waited two years to do this! Two years for revenge!” Taub screamed. “We are not going to let them get loose now.”
Taub bought his trash-can costume for $85 off Amazon and headed from Brooklyn to his seat in the bleachers to join about 10,000 fans squeezed in under the COVID-19-restricted capacity for the most-anticipated regular-season game in The Bronx in two years.
“I hope the Yankees fans smell blood tonight,” Taub said. “I hope we don’t do anything irresponsible, but I hope we give our shares of boos and let them hear it. We definitely got robbed of a World Series. There’s no question about that.”
Astros manager Dusty Baker wasn’t around for the sign-stealing — he was hired to replace A.J. Hinch, whose one-year suspension by MLB and subsequent firing was part of the fallout — but he has experienced the repercussions thrown at his players as unwelcome visitors.
Baker did not plan to address pregame the possibility of raucous booing or retaliation between the lines with his players.
“These guys are big boys, they’re men,” Baker said. “To address it would not do any good. You don’t want to have them fearful or apprehensive of something that may not even happen. There’s no way to really prepare for this except to go out and play.”
Yankees fans didn’t wait for first pitch to be heard. There were scattered boos at the tail end of Astros batting practice.
“Our job is to go out and play baseball and not worry about what the fans or anyone says, so that’s really what we’re focusing on,” said outfielder Kyle Tucker, who made his MLB debut in 2018.
“We don’t get frustrated with [fan reaction.] Our job is to play solid on defense and offense and get our pitching going strong. We don’t focus on whether they are cheering or not cheering for us. Their fans are here to watch a game and cheer on their team, and we just try to go out and win tonight.”
The Dodgers, who lost the 2017 World Series to the Astros, set a blueprint for retaliation last year when Joe Kelly threw behind Alex Bregman and at Carlos Correa. He mocked Correa after a strikeout and the benches cleared. The Yankees, meanwhile, are involved in a three-year beanball war with the rival Rays.
“A state of high anxiety does no good. You have to be calm,” Baker said. “At the same time, on the inside, you have to be fearless and of high desire. … You have to try to play the same game here that you play elsewhere.”
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