NEW YORK -- On May the Fourth, known as Star Wars Day, New York Yankees fans channeled their inner Emperor Palpatine and directed their anger toward the Houston Astros the moment the visitors stepped on the field.
"One bang, fastball!" one fan screamed at Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, taking batting practice.
"You don't deserve your accolades!" another yelled at Astros third baseman Alex Bregman.
Tuesday marked the first day that the crowd at Yankee Stadium had the opportunity to express its anger at the Astros for their trash can-banging scheme. Forget the fact that the scandal broke nearly a year ago and that both AJ Hinch and Alex Cora are back from their suspensions for their role in the scandal and that only five players remain from the 2017 World Series champions. Yankees fans did not forget, and they wanted to make sure their displeasure was heard throughout the 7-3 victory for the home team.
The Yankees have now won nine of 12, and they improved to 15-14, their first time over .500 since they were 3-2. That added to the moment for the fans, as well.
"As soon as the schedule came out, we bought these tickets, so this is like a revenge tour because they weren't here last year, and when they did play, they didn't get the reception that they are getting now," said Yankees fan John Guerin. "I was booing them at home last year. I was in my living room."
David Taub of Brooklyn arrived wearing a costume of Oscar the Grouch with a tank top reading "Trashtros" but was told he could not wear the outfit into the stadium due to a new policy.
"It was about $90 and I ordered it and it was three weeks in backorder, so I made sure to order it early," Taub said. "I had this game penciled in for a long time, since the schedule came out. I have been waiting to go to this game for over a year and a half, waiting for the Astros to come. I circled this game as soon as I knew fans were allowed."
Throughout the evening, chants broke out across Yankee Stadium regardless of whether the Astros were hitting at the plate. When Bregman hit a first-inning home run, the crowd immediately broke out into "cheater" chants. Throughout the evening, fans met shortstop Carlos Correa, Bregman and Altuve with the most consistent, loudest jeers.
"It's mainly Altuve, Correa and Bregman," said Jack Genesi. "They are the main guys who played well and under the statistics, they played much better at home than away, and they are the players that won them their 2017 World Series. Most of the team has changed, but those guys are still there."
Astros manager Dusty Baker said the crowd's reaction to the Astros did not surprise him.
"At least there wasn't any violence. They can say whatever they want," Baker said. "It sounded like a packed house tonight even though it wasn't. We expected that reception, so we'll get more of the same tomorrow and the next day."
Baker added that Altuve, the subject of the most heckling from the crowd, seemed to be pressing.
"The fans were extremely hard on Altuve tonight," Baker said. "He's exerting a lot of effort, maybe too much effort."
Bregman said the Astros tried to concentrate on the game rather than the reception from the crowd.
"I think we just tried to focus on taking good swings, competing and worrying about baseball," Bregman said.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the contest felt like a playoff atmosphere despite the fact that only 10,850 fans attended.
"The energy that was created, we haven't seen that since 2019, so it was a fun game to be a part of," Boone said.
The strong reaction from the hometown crowd created surroundings tough for any opposing player.
"That was intense," said Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. "I wouldn't want to be on the other side of that. They brought some heavy."
Of course, so did Stanton. He had four hits and three RBIs, and he joined his teammates on the field for the celebratory handshake line, much to the delight of the crowd that remained for the conclusion of the 3-hour, 27-minute game.