For the first time since Major League Baseball issued a detailed report on their cheating scandal throughout the 2017 season, the Houston Astros will play in Yankee Stadium.
Speaking to USA Today's Bob Nightengale, Astros manager Dusty Baker said he expects the reaction from New York Yankees fans "is going to be wild" when his team steps on the field for Tuesday's game.
The Astros and Yankees met twice in the American League Championship Series in 2017 and 2019.
Their 2017 series went to seven games, with the home team winning every game. Several members of that Yankees squad said they felt robbed of a World Series title because of Houston's cheating scheme.
"Forever in my mind now, in ’17, we won the World Series," CC Sabathia said on his R2C2 podcast in January 2020 (h/t Brendan Kuty of NJ.com). "I don’t give a f--k what nobody says. Period."
"I do feel that way, yeah," Masahiro Tanaka told reporters when asked if he felt cheated out of a championship.
Houston went on to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series for the first championship in franchise history.
The Yankees-Astros 2019 ALCS went six games, but the deciding moment was also shrouded in controversy. Jose Altuve's walk-off home run off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 6 became the subject of intense scrutiny and speculation.
Amid online speculation that Altuve was wearing a buzzer under his jersey to be given a signal about what pitch Chapman was throwing, teammate Carlos Correa told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal that Altuve didn't want anyone ripping his jersey off because he had "an unfinished tattoo that looked kinda bad that he didn't want people to see and people to talk about."
MLB's investigation into the Astros scandal resulted in the franchise being fined $5 million, forfeiting first-and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and year-long suspensions for general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch.
Luhnow and Hinch were subsequently fired by Astros owner Jim Crane for their roles in the scandal.
Baker was hired to replace Hinch on Jan. 29, 2020. The 71-year-old went 29-31 and led them to the American League Championship Series in his first season with the Astros.