A Dodger fan named Javier Gonzalez posted a picture to a Facebook group on Monday of his latest Amazon purchase: Two T-shirts he and his wife are planning to wear to Tuesday’s game against the Houston Astros.
One shirt features a trash can surrounded by the words “Bang Bang Changeup.” The other features a baseball bat hitting a trash can, with the words “Swangin & Bangin.” A commenter asked where he could get the T-shirts too. He was planning to attend Wednesday’s game.
T-shirts are a relatively minor concern for Dodger Stadium security with the Astros coming to town.
Since the last time fans were allowed to watch a Dodgers-Astros game in person, in August of 2018, a cheating scandal tarnished the Astros’ 2017 season, which culminated in a seven-game World Series victory against the Dodgers. The scandal inspired an investigation by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, multiple suspensions, two books, a serial podcast, and a minor kerfuffle between the players when they met last year in Houston.
While the Dodgers’ players might have had time to resolve their angst in person, it’s a different story for fans.
“I think that our fans have waited a long time to have these guys at our place,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Last September, when the Astros visited Los Angeles for an interleague series amid pandemic-era restrictions, fans were prevented from entering Dodger Stadium. Instead, they brought chairs and megaphones and trash cans and waited outside the stadium entrance for the team bus to arrive before voicing their feelings.
A Dodgers spokesperson declined to comment on the expected security presence in the stadium for this two-game series, citing company policy. The area where fans congregated outside the main entrance is not private property but rather maintained by the City of Los Angeles.
Now that stadium capacity has returned to normal across the country, many fans have been willing and able to voice their displeasure whenever the Astros come to town.
In May, when the Astros visited Yankee Stadium for the first time since news of the cheating scandal broke, a scene emerged.
Private vendors sold foam fingers with the words “steal this sign” printed on them – and the middle finger, not the index finger, extended. Astros players were booed and heckled from the beginning of batting practice until the end of the game. Videos circulated of a fan who was apparently ejected after standing atop a guard rail in left field, yelling at the Astros while making an obscene gesture.
Unlike the Yankees, the Dodgers awoke Monday with a good chance of seeing the Astros in the playoffs. They’re 64-43, the second-best record in the National League. Houston is 64-42, tied for the best record in the American League. Past history aside, it’s expected to be a competitive series.
Gonzalez will be ready.
“My seats are right next to the visiting bullpen,” he said. “I talk to the person in charge of security, and was told that they will be very strict on what fans bring into the game. I was planning on taking a little trash can with a bat and bang on it on every other pitch, but that plan is out of the question.
“I will be taking thunder sticks and a whistle, the whistle for a fastball and the thunder sticks for a curveball.”
Walker Buehler was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for July, the first such award of his career. In five starts last month, Buehler went 3-0 with a 1.67 earned-run average across 32⅓ innings. He did not allow a home run. … The Texas Rangers claimed D.J. Peters off waivers after he was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on July 29. After making his major league debut in April, Peters went 5 for 26 (.192) with a home run and 14 strikeouts. He was batting .233 with a .691 on-base plus slugging percentage at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Astros (RHP Lance McCullers Jr., 8-2, 3.23 ERA) at Dodgers (RHP Walker Buehler, 11-1, 2.19 ERA), Tuesday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, 570 AM
Staff Writer Bill Plunkett contributed to this story.
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