Remember the cheating Houston Astros? I do! I don't think any Major League Baseball players have forgotten either. Despite a global pandemic (likely invented by the Astros themselves) cancelling sports for the first half of 2020, people aren't just going to forget that the Astros cheated their way to a title and handled it the way the did. Time won't heal this wound, especially with the slap on the wrist punishment they received from Manfraud.
With baseball on its way back in a month's time it's fun to think about all the storylines that will come into play during this 60 game madhouse sprint to the postseason. One of those storylines will be how MLB teams deal with the Astros. There won't be any fans to heckle them all year long so it's up to the players to police the league. Unfortunately the Yankees won't see these guys until the postseason, but there will be plenty of teams ready to jump at the opportunity for some retaliation.
With charging the mound and fighting of any sort banned because of corona, the Astros will be rendered defenseless as they stand at the dish. We could be looking at a human piñata situation if everything breaks the right way. There are now odds on who will be the first Astro plunked. Now this will heavily depend on the opponent, but we can speculate for shits and gigs.
Springer being the lead off guy certainly boosts his likelihood, which has him sitting at +400. That being said, I think if you were to pick a "good" guy out of this bunch it's probably him. By "good" I mean he didn't ridicule opposing players and vehemently deny rumors to media members faces. I think he probably felt genuinely bad for what they did and is sorry. Comparatively speaking the target on his back is much smaller than some of the other criminals.
One of the biggest assholes on the team is Carlos Correa. I would like nothing more than to see him take one in the back first, but I worry he's too far down in the order to bet here. In Game 7 of last year's World Series he hit 7th. Going with the 2nd lowest odds on a guy with six batters in front of him is too risky to me. My heart wants to take him, but the gambler brain in me has me staying away.
That leaves us with two big names: Altuve and Bregman. Both men have exposed themselves as big time clowns this offseason. Altuve hits second in the order normally, but he might be too small a target to hit. Also if Springer gets on to start the game you're not going to want to hit Altuve and put two on right off the bat. Bregman hits 4th and is as hate-able as they come. When he's winning he's the loudest person in the room. The cocky quotes and smug faces he gives to the press are insufferable. When he's exposed in the biggest cheating scandal in baseball history he's as quiet as a mouse. He'll hide from the media and when forced out of his hole either pulls a Marshawn Lynch or reads a 3 sentence prepared statement from the PR department. I think he's got the biggest target on his back. If the Astros go 1-2-3 in the first inning you could see Bregman taking one off the shoulder just as the the broadcast returns from commercial break. I know it's lame taking the favorite here, but +350 is a decent payday no matter what. I think it's a winner.
If you want to take a long shot I'd go Josh Reddick at +3000. I don't think this guy has one friend left in baseball outside of the Astros. He was asked a few months back if he owed anyone an apology for what he did. This was the answer.
He stinks so he hits in the bottom 3rd of the lineup, but he's extremely hate-able. +3000 is worth a stab.
Give. Me. Baseball.