Gio: 'Villain' Astros Are Great For Baseball

Says Fans Will Actively Be Rooting Against Houston

Boomer and Gio
February 14, 2020 - 9:39 am

The Houston Astros may have cast a dark cloud over the 2017 Major League Baseball season -- and 2019, too, depending on whom you ask. But they just might prove to be a blessing for baseball in 2020, WFAN's Gregg Giannotti said Friday.

Listen to your team news NOW.

"This is good for baseball," he said on the "Boomer and Gio" show. "I haven't seen baseball fans this worked up about something in years, and now what you have in the Houston Astros is a legit sports villain. And what does a legit sports villain do in these leagues? Bring genuine interest in the sport.

"LeBron James and Miami Heat and all of that, even though they weren't cheating ... that was a legit sports villain," Gio continued. "When Kevin Durant went to the Warriors, that's a legit sports villain. The New England Patriots -- sports villains. And we love to hate sports villains, and now we've got a legitimate one in the Houston Astros."

The Astros tried to do damage control from their sign-stealing scandal at spring training Thursday, but it didn't go well. Owner Jim Crane was blasted by baseball fans and sports media for suggesting the cheating did not impact games. And Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman made brief comments but did not field questions from reporters -- and Altuve's statement noticeably lacked the words "sorry" or "apologize."

The news conference brought out the "Twitter dragons," Giannotti said. 

"This is the best thing that has happened to baseball in years and years and years because it shows that the passion is there, it gives you something to root against, the players are all involved now -- you see all the players on other teams that are tweeting up a storm and talking about how upset they are," he said.

The Astros' Jose Altuve finishes signing autographs before the morning spring training workout on Feb. 13, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Images

Boomer Esiason, Giannotti's co-host, predicted that the Astros will feel the venom from angry fans for some time.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the players dealing with this, because every city they go into, they're going to have to deal with this," he said. "And we've been talking about this over and over and over and over again that it's not going to be easy to be a Houston Astro. Now what will be interesting to see is how they play and see where they end up at the end of the year and how much impact this has on that team overall, 'cause they still have a very good team."

To listen to the open from Friday's "Boomer and Gio" show, click on the audio player above.