Column: Give ‘em hell, Dodgers fans. Astros still deserve to be booed for cheating

Dodgers fans boo Jose Altuve of the Astros after he struck out in a game on Aug. 3, 2021, at Dodger Stadium.
Jose Altuve of the Astros is greeted by boos as he returns to the dugout after striking out against the Dodgers on Aug. 3, 2021, at Dodger Stadium.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
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Here they come again.

You know what to do.

“Cheat-ers … cheat-ers … cheat-ers.”

Six years have passed, but the pain has not abated, the anger has not softened and the outrage is still real.

They’re wearing your rings. They’re displaying your trophy. They’ve stolen your moment.

There are few times when a sports fan has a civic duty, but the three-game series beginning Friday at Chavez Ravine is one of those times.

Dodgers fans, give the Houston Astros hell.


The MLB commissioner admitted mistakes in his handling of the investigation into the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that led to them beating the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series.

June 22, 2023

Let them know you will never forget. Let them know you will never accept. Let them know that, even though only a handful of players remain from the teams that competed in the crooked 2017 World Series, this was never about the players.

This was about you. This was an insult to your city. This was a punch to your passion. This was personal.

Boo the organization, which means booing everybody. Chant at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, the two active players from that cheating team. Apply the pressure loud enough for anyone involved in that franchise to understand this is not over, this will never be over.

It might not seem fair to the many Astros players who had nothing to do with the scandal, particularly since they have morphed into a nationally beloved bunch with their second World Series championship last fall. Who can boo Dusty Baker, right?

But, again, you’re not booing Dusty Baker. You’re booing his team’s owner, as Jim Crane is still there. You’re booing baseball’s decision to not punish any players, as Commissioner Rob Manfred is still there. You’re booing those nine days in the fall of 2017 when your pocket was picked and your memories were mugged.

To be honest, Dodgers fans really don’t need any encouragement. They’ve done this before. This is the second time the Astros will play in front of fans here since they were found guilty of stealing signs while stealing that 2017 World Series championship from the Dodgers.


In the Astros’ first post-scandal visit here in front of fans in August 2021, Dodger Stadium was intense, fans taunting and booing every Astros’ step, constantly chanting “Cheater” and going overboard by littering the field with inflatable trash cans.

The tone had been set a year earlier in front of COVID-emptied seats in Houston, when Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly threw over the head of Bregman and Carlos Correa before wagging his tongue and mocking Correa.

Dodgers fans in 2021 talk about whether they will ever stop booing the Houston Astros for their role in the MLB cheating scandal.

Dodgers fans piled on later in that abbreviated 2020 season, picketing the Astros team bus as it drove into a stadium that was still off limits to spectators.

Yeah, the fallout has been ugly, and, indeed, some of it has been irresponsible, and this weekend some things need to stop.

No Dodgers pitcher needs to throw at an Astro, and here’s guessing they won’t. No Dodgers fan needs to throw anything on the field, and here’s hoping they won’t.


But, c’mon Dodgers fans, make them feel uncomfortable, make their organization remember it got away with robbery, serve up some of the punishment that Major League Baseball refused to administer.

Yes, only three Dodgers who played in the World Series are still on the team — Clayton Kershaw, Chris Taylor and Austin Barnes. But the sign-stealing will forever taint Kershaw’s postseason legacy. The entire scandal, in fact, was epitomized by Kershaw’s Game 5 loss at Houston’s Minute Maid Park.

With the Astros illegally using a camera system to steal signs and alert their hitters — hence the banging trash cans — Kershaw was racked for six runs in 4 ⅔ innings. According to Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, Kershaw failed to induce even one swinging strike while throwing 51 sliders and curves. On the other side of that loss, cheating beneficiaries Altuve and Bregman went five for 10 with one home run and five RBIs.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts after giving up a three-run home run to the Houston Astros.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw reacts after giving up a three-run home run to the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The cheating unfairly subjected Kershaw to much more postseason criticism before the Dodgers finally broke their 32-year drought and won a World Series in 2020. The cheating helped run Yu Darvish out of town after he gave up four runs in 1 ⅔ innings in Game 3. The cheating probably still hounds manager Dave Roberts and his bullpen usage.

And to think, while the Astros organization was fined $5 million and lost draft picks, not one player was punished. They all received immunity in exchange for testimony. They kept their rings. They kept their trophy.


The Dodgers, meanwhile, lost their minds, and guess what? Now, six years later, Manfred finally admitted he blew it.

In an interview published this week in Time magazine, Manfred says he regrets his failure to individually punish the cheating players.

“Some of the decisions surrounding the Houston situation, would like to have those back,” he told Time.

He added, “I’m not sure I would have approached it with giving players immunity. Once we gave players immunity, it puts you in a box as to what exactly you were going to do in terms of punishment. I might have gone about the investigative process without that grant of immunity and see where it takes us. Starting with, I’m not going to punish anybody, maybe not my best decision ever.”

Two-way star Shohei Ohtani has made it clear he wants to win and play in warm weather. Will the Dodgers’ talent and wealth lure him away?

June 22, 2023

Maybe his worst decision ever?

Sorry, Houston, but this is not going away.

Last year at the All-Star Game here, Baker openly wished his players would not be booed.

“I would prefer that this beautiful town of L.A. move on and forget the past, because most of the players that are here weren’t even there during the scandal,” he said. “I just wonder about the forgiveness of mankind.”

Nothing personal, Dusty. But this beautiful town of L.A. has been the recipient of something really ugly, and while there might be forgiveness, there should be no forgetting.


Here they come again.

You know what to do.