Manager Dusty Baker acknowledges the hate directed at the Astros, even if he thinks people should also respect the team for their performance.
The Houston Astros are most certainly not America’s team in the 2020 MLB Playoffs. If they were, their unlikely ALCS comeback would be a lot more fun.
“You gotta love this team,” Baker said after the Astros’ Game 6 victory before correcting himself. “Well some people hate this team, but you gotta respect this team.”
At least he’s self-aware. Undoubtedly far more baseball fans hate the Astros than love them.
Dusty Baker accepts the Astros hate, but wants the respect
Baker is right in some sense. From a pure baseball perspective, what the Astros have managed to pull off is worthy of some respect.
They were down 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays but fought back with three straight wins of their own to tie the series back up. Saturday’s battle will be winner-take-all for a trip to the World Series.
They came this far because of Baker’s management and the competitiveness of the lineup.
In Game 4, the manager opted to put his faith in starting pitcher Zach Greinke and it paid off. In Game 5, Carlos Correa was the hero with a walk-off home run. In Game 6, they were simply more mentally tough than the Rays. They took their chances and never gave Tampa Bay the foothold it needed for a comeback.
Adversity can bring a group of players better than anything and Houston has had plenty. It was entirely of their own making (no one forced them to steal signals), but their ability to turn all the negativity thrown their way into productivity has been impressive nonetheless.
The baseball world wants to see the Astros fail, and that appears to have done more to fuel their playoff run than anything.