The Houston Astros should know they're in for hell this year. Fans of 29 teams are irate with the status quo, angry there wasn't harsher punishment doled out. As tone-deaf as the team's public statements have been, one would figure that deep down, they would enter this season fully understanding what lay ahead.
Then again, maybe not.
Fate put the Washington Nationals across the diamond for the first whiff of competitive baseball after the cheating scandal exploded. The two World Series combatants share a facility. One could not script it any better.
One fan up on the news brought an extremely mild sign commenting on the mess to the game. Per ESPN's Stefano Fusaro, it was quickly confiscated.
"Houston *'s" is about as tame as it gets. And sure, everyone despises an unneeded grocer's apostrophe. But come on.
This isn't profane. It isn't in poor taste.
If the Astros can't handle this, one wonders how they'll handle the deluge of negative commentary -- including in sign form -- coming their direction over the next several months.
The explanation that signs aren't allowed in the ballpark is plainly lame. Even if that's the case, is it possible that the organization is ignorant to just how small this makes them look?
These sign-holders aren't powerful. Their signs aren't doing anything to tarnish Houston's reputation. These wounds are all self-inflicted.
A few fans joking is a minuscule consequence for a historic nefarious act. The continued refusal to take responsibility and own results is disappointing, but not surprising.
At this point it's almost admirable how hell-bent this franchise is at bungling their rehabilitation.