As his team moved to the brink of the World Series, Astros outfielder Josh Reddick found particular pleasure in the vibe at Yankee Stadium as Thursday night became Friday morning and Houston wrapped up an 8-3 win over the Yankees in Game 4 of the ALCS.
The ballpark, so packed and so raucous for so much of the night, was mostly empty. The fans, who Reddick called “disrespectful” after they threw garbage on the field Tuesday, were mostly quiet.
“It emptied out pretty quick at the end of the game,” Reddick said, “so they didn’t have much to say.”
The Astros, who lead the best-of-seven series 3-1, won this game and thus won the game within the game, dealing with the home fans who sometimes make Yankee Stadium a version of hell for visiting players.
That intense dynamic ramped up before Game 4 even began while Astros starter Zack Greinke warmed up in the bullpen. Fans in the outfield taunted Greinke about his mother and his battle with social anxiety and depression. One man was ejected by police, according to a report from NJ.com.
“I didn’t hear anything,” Greinke said.
With an increased police presence in the outfield — at the request of Reddick and the Astros — Yankee Stadium security was on high alert for wrongdoers. Before the game, Astros manager AJ Hinch threatened to take his team off the field if Yankees fans threw garbage onto the field again.
Reddick came away satisfied this time.
“I talked with some MLB security guys [this week] about it,” he said. “They said they were going to up the security and the police presence in the outfield and the bullpen from [Tuesday] night’s game. I didn’t really get a good look at it, but the people I did talk to, I had very credible conversations with. I do feel they did all the right, necessary moves to take care of things.”
Not all hecklers were dissuaded. Astros closer Roberto Osuna, who recorded the final four outs, said fans at Yankee Stadium are worse than fans elsewhere, and that is especially true in the postseason.
“Sometimes they cross a line,” Osuna said. “I feel like MLB needs to do something about it.”
Thursday night was one of those times.
“Bringing up stuff about your mother and your family,” Osuna said. “We’re here doing our job. We play baseball. We try to put on a good show out there. You can say whatever you want [about] us and we’re not going to get offended. But when you bring somebody’s family or mother [into it], I feel like that’s too much.”
Will Harris, who had two strikeouts in his perfect seventh inning, took a more thick-skinned approach.
“I could smell a little Miller Lite when I was on the mound,” he said. “But that’s the way it goes. That comes with the territory. I don’t think anybody down there is surprised at heckling.
“I don’t really have a line, to be honest with you. It is what it is. Whatever they say is not going to affect anything I’m doing.”