Yankees fans bringing back home-field advantage with Astros in town

Altuve Yankees Astros
Yankees fans react as Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) tosses his bat away after striking out to end the top of the third inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The concept of home-field advantage is officially back in Major League Baseball after a one-year hiatus — and it returned in force in the Bronx this week.

Yankees fans are making the most of their opportunity to finally voice their displeasure with the Houston Astros, who are in town for a three-game series for their first games against the Bronx Bombers since Major League Baseball’s investigation determined last winter that they illegally stole signs during the 2017 season. They won the World Series that season while defeating the Yankees in the ALCS where cameras were used to relay the opposing catcher’s sign to a television in the clubhouse tunnel, where an Astros attendant would bang on a trash can to alert the hitter of which pitch was coming.

Two years later, speculation arose that they were using buzzers — as seen when Jose Altuve clutched his shirt closed after hitting an ALCS-winning, walk-off home run off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman.

So it was only natural that Yankees fans filled their home with as many fans as possible, adorning garbage cans and a colorful assortment of cheeky signs to complement a raucous atmosphere of 10,850 fans — and their voices were heard.

Astros star infielder Jose Altuve looked rattled throughout the night as Yankees fans chanted obscenities at him, so did starting pitcher Zack Greinke in a 7-3 New York win Tuesday.

“It felt like a playoff atmosphere. Amazing 10–12,000 fans, whatever was in there. The energy that was created, we haven’t seen that since 2019,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It was a fun game to be a part of. You have games every now and then in the regular season that feel big, feel important, and obviously the crowd being as engaged as they were from the onset, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an extra level of energy.”

Such an atmosphere didn’t make it too difficult for the Yankees to get up for this meeting, either.

“You just relive those moments,” slugger Giancarlo Stanton said. “The disappointment, obviously, the controversies that transpired from that, you bottle it all into one, and that was basically the emotions you get.”

For the Astros, this trip is the equivalent of ripping off the band-aid. They were going to get this kind of reception in the Bronx where it was going to be the most intimidating place to play outside of Los Angeles — as Dodgers fans still some grievances to air after losing the 2017 World Series to Houston.

“Nothing surprised me,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “At least there wasn’t any violence. They can say whatever they want. It sounded like a packed house tonight even though it wasn’t. We expected that reception and we’ll probably get more of that.”