Oakland A’s fans cheered like they won the World Series after Carlos Correa got plunked on Thursday night


Ezra Shaw

The wounds of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal, which rocked baseball to its foundation during the 2019-20 offseason, have begun to heal. We've mostly stopped talking about it (Yankees fans notwithstanding.) AJ Hinch is quietly in charge of a dugout again up in Detroit. Someday soon, Alex Cora will land on his feet and we’ll put yet another World Series champ between us and that impossibly dark, comically hypocritical chapter in baseball and move on.

If Oakland Athletics fans on Thursday night were any indication, however, that day was not Opening Day.

That’s Astros shortstop Carlos Correa getting beaned in the 4th inning of their season opener against the A’s on Thursday. But it’s not the plunk that’s telling, as much as it is the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum’s reaction: A full standing ovation for putting an opposing team’s batter on base.

This is proof that last year’s empty ballparks delayed the final step of our healing process. We needed to get out there and boo and cheer and throw $13 beers at the Astros. We needed to curse their fathers and call their mothers names. Who cares if your franchise once made marketing millions off two of the biggest posterboys of the steroid era. If catharsis comes at the expense of self-awareness, so be it.

The irony, of course, is that the Astros won the game sans sign stealing and by this time next year (perhaps even sooner, depending on how things shake out at the trade deadline), Carlos Correa will be welcomed into a new fanbase with open arms. But for now, baseball fans will take all the closure we can get. Lord knows we’ve earned it.