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Reggie Jackson shared an elevator the other day with Yankees fans, one of whom was telling his buddies how much he despised Jose Altuve.
“I hate that little sawed off SOB,” the gentleman proudly told his chums.
And that’s where Mr. October, now an Astros executive, entered the convo.
“He’s my favorite player,” Jackson told the fellow, before adding one comment. “You should be quiet.”
The fellow had one question for Reggie.
“You’re Reggie Jackson, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I am.”
And so, the guy took Reggie’s advice and shut up.
Now the rest of the Yankees faithful should follow suit.
It’s enough punishment already for Altuve regarding the Astros’ regrettable shenanigans during their 2017 championship season. If you call it that.
Every time the Yankees fans shower Altuve with boos, he responds by punishing the Yankees. He homered on the first pitch from Nestor Cortes Sunday and later walked twice and stole two bases before the Yankees engineered a stirring 6-3, 10-inning late comeback win in a four-game series filled with thrills that ended in a split and served as a likely ALCS preview.
Altuve now has 10 home runs in 99 at-bats versus the Yankees since 2017. So the serenade of boos quite obviously is not working.
At this point, it is well established that while their trophy is undeniably tainted, the ’17 Astros were a fantastically talented team that surely didn’t need help getting to the playoffs — it was full of the stars you remember plus even Joe Musgrove and Teoscar Hernandez. And they remain a superb squad only surpassed to this day by the Yankees.
Altuve is the face of the franchise, a long-time, homegrown Astro who keeps getting big hits, so I suppose it makes some sense he takes the brunt of fans’ frustration. But it’s ridiculous. It is well known now that Altuve was one of a few Astros hitters who didn’t even take the stolen signs via the trash can.
“He didn’t even take the signal,” Reggie said.
Didn’t take ’em, didn’t want ’em.
And as for the rumor about Altuve being a buzzer beater, everyone around the Astros says that’s BS, that the reason he covered up after taking Aroldis Chapman deep to win it in 2019 is because he didn’t wish to be disrobed on field, as teammates had done before.
Yes, I know, for Yankees fans it’s hard to believe any Astro. But bear with me here:
1) It’s believable Altuve would hit a big homer (he has 23 postseason homers, five more than Mr. October himself);
2) It’s certainly believable Chapman would allow a big home run, and No. 3 is the big one;
3) It’s completely unbelievable that someone claiming to be Carlos Beltran’s niece (of all the fake people on Twitter, she/he may take the prize) would have broken this story, as the phony Beltran relative by definition is even less honest than the real Beltran.
Anyway, five years of boos is enough for something Altuve only knew about.
It’s not deserved, and more to the point, it’s not working.
“Our best player is Altuve,” Reggie said. “And he’s a prince of a guy.”
If you’re keeping score, only five Astros remain from 2017. And the Yankees employ three 2017 Astros — super utilityman Marwin Gonzalez plus two in the broadcast booth, Beltran and Cameron Maybin.
“They give Marwin a roll call, and they FU Altuve, and Marwin is the reason we won the World Series,” one Astros player noted, recalling key Gonzalez hits that helped beat the Dodgers in that World Series.
Beltran remains the only ex-2017 who admitted the Astros’ title should be asterisked, and he did that while taking a paycheck from the Yankees as a YES Network broadcaster. Beltran incidentally is the only player named in MLB’s report. (Again, not Altuve!)
I do get it on some level. The Astros continue to be a thorn, and a hurdle. They are actually the hurdle in the AL as the Yankees battle history.
These are by far the two best teams in the league, and while the Yankees have played considerably better to this point, it’ll mean little if they can’t get by Houston again.
Three years in the last seven the Astros eliminated the Yankees in the postseason, and while it’s tough to say anyone has their number, not when they are on a 117-win pace and they just split this series, it’d be quite a downer if the Astros do it to the Yankees again.
At that point, the Yankees would have to ask: Do we have a Houston problem?
Reggie, a longtime Bay Area resident and Golden State Warriors fan, remembers telling Warriors owner Joe Lacob and coach Steve Kerr when they beat the Bulls’ 72-win record that it won’t mean anything if they can’t finish the job. They didn’t, and it didn’t.
The Warriors have won four other championships, and they surely know now the title is what counts.
“Everything else is preamble. … It is window dressing,” Reggie said.
No matter how many regular-year wins they pile up, these Yankees need to finish this job.
For now, their fans just need to forget 2017. And also, stop blaming it all on a guy who didn’t even partake in all the nonsense around him.