Sports fans, similar to the athletes they cheer for, can turn any perceived slight into a grievous insult.
Veteran sportscaster Bob Costas has a knack for igniting those types of feelings with his comments, doing so once again Sunday night in the wake of the Houston Astros’ sweep of the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
On the TBS postgame show, Costas suggested the Astros’ extended run of success — with four World Series appearances in the past six seasons — helped put the infamous sign-stealing scandal behind them.
“This in no way excuses what the Astros did in 2017 and whatever might have surrounded that. They were sanctioned for it,” Costas said. “Some people say the sanctions were not stiff enough. But at the very least their championship in 2017, for many, carries a mental asterisk if not an official asterisk.”
Some Astros fans weren’t happy to be reminded of the scandal so soon after their team had just won the AL pennant.
But Costas was actually trying to pay the Astros a compliment. He continued:
“But those who continue to say that that explains away their success — it’s like people who try to put all the (New England) Patriots’ success and (head coach Bill) Belichick and (quarterback Tom) Brady under the heading of Deflategate or taping a Rams’ practice before their first Super Bowl victory.
It just doesn’t add up. These guys have been to the LCS six straight years, and they’ve gone to the World Series four out of six. And they can’t bang on trash cans anymore.”
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This time though, not only were Astros fans offended, but the reference to the Patriots pulled in an entirely different fanbase.
Two sets of fans feeling attacked in one comment.
For Costas, it was almost a routine double play.