Dodgers president Andrew Friedman: Astros playing 'victim card' is 'a curious strategy'
The Houston Astros, who ended the season under .500 after a massive under-.500 fraud scandal, have reached the ALCS following a division series win at the location of their now-tainted 2017 World Series: Dodger Stadium.
In a surreal time of year, this sequence of events is still noticeable. It even has the interest of Dodger's President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman, who was asked about the Astro's success this year and the clear lead they have shown during their run.
This "sacrifice card" line could refer to any number of things the Astros have said and done since their scam was exposed in the 2017 season. However, the most notable recent example came after the team's victory in the wildcard series, in the shortstop Carlos Correa said this:
"I know a lot of people are crazy. I know a lot of people don't want to see us here. But what are they going to say now?"
This line essentially captures the Astro's post-scandal stance that has built up amid the hatred of pretty much every other fan base.
The Astros cheated, people got mad at them, people wanted them to fail, but the Astros are still good enough to be a threat in an open MLB season. The best way to move forward was to ignore this first part and focus on the last three to fight a fight regardless of your "opponent's" motivation.
Nobody should be surprised that the Astros handled their scandal in this way. (AP Photo / Ashley Landis)
The “everyone is against us” philosophy is widespread in sport. Many teams have used it to keep a head start on past successes. Coaches convince players who everyone expects to fail, players convince themselves that haters scored them.
However, the strategy takes on a more sinister air if the hatred is for reasons other than previous success. And the Astros have no shortage of reasons. There was the team's cheating, their attempts to smear a reporter for accurately reporting a confrontation that badly affected them, taking on a player suspended for domestic violence for pennies on the dollar, the racist gesture its player in the 2017 World Series list goes on.
But the Astros still made progress because they were never stimulated to look back. That might be an odd look, but it's in line with the organizational philosophy that brought them here.
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