Months before the world would come to a halt because of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, MLB was rocked by scandal when Mike Fiers went public with claims the Houston Astros electronically stole signs en route to winning the 2017 World Series.
Fiers’ remarks prompted an investigation, which indeed found the Astros guilty of impropriety. MLB levied a $5 million fine against the organization, which was the most permitted under the Major League Constitution.
Additionally, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, manager AJ Hinch and former assistant general manager Brandon Taubmanwere each suspended for one year. Luhnow and Hinch were subsequently fired by team owner Jim Crane.
However, the Astros kept their championship, a decision MLB commissioner Rob Manfred defended and came under fire for. A perception that the league let the Astros off the hook did not sit well with opponents, and the Astros have remained a villain in the court of public opinion.
That stretched to hit game show “Wheel of Fortune,” when the puzzle answer entailed hitting a trash can. It prompted host and converted Dodgers fan Pat Sajak to reference the Astros’ sign stealing scandal.
Wheel of Fortune last night:
"BANGING ON TRASH CANS"
Pat Sajak: "I was gonna do a baseball joke there, but it's too easy." pic.twitter.com/XVsFUEZc94
— 2020 Astros Shame Tour (@AsteriskTour) January 6, 2021
Sajak grew up rooting for the Chicago Cubs but when attending the 2017 World Series, said he was cheering for the Dodgers. Sajak attributed that to living in L.A. since 1977, and is also known to root for the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles.
Dodgers don’t hold back with Astros
Although social media didn’t provide the Astros with any reprieve last season, they certainly benefitted from fans not being allowed to attend games because of the pandemic. However, it was clear opposing players would not simply let Houston slide by.
Joe Kelly and Carlos Correa sparked a benches-clearing exchange early into the 2020 season, and the Astros were later involved in a brawl with the Oakland Athletics.
When the Astros visited Dodger Stadium, a group of Dodgers fans greeted them with disparaging signs and trash cans.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!