The Houston Cheats have been in the news as they face the backlash of their sign-stealing scandal, but the ripple effect has reached much farther than the Grapefruit League.
Leave it to the St. Paul Saints to take advantage of such a storyline as the team has announced that they will honor the Cheats for their 2017 World Series championship with an "Astro The Grouch" bobblehead giveaway on July 31.
The first 1,500 fans at CHS Field will take home a talking bobblehead that depicts a green monster hiding inside a trash can. But if that's to be mistaken for another green monster that lives in a trash can or one that resides in Houston, fear not as the Saints gave Astro his own backstory.
"Astro, who lives in a trash can, has baseball antennas making it easier for him to pick up radio and TV frequencies," the Saints explained in a press release. "With a simple push of a button Astro will let you know, with a bang or two, what pitch is coming - once for a fastball and twice for a curveball. Sometimes he’ll just tell you what’s coming by saying, “fastball” or “curveball.”
In addition to the bobblehead, the Saints will have artists on hand to finish off half-finished tattoos (a jab at Cheats star Jose Altuve), a replica "piece of metal" for fans to take a picture with and a two-inning workshop for all children in attendance to "show why cheating and stealing are bad."
The Cheats and trash cans became synonymous this winter when it was revealed they had used a sign-stealing system that included the use of television cameras and a garbage can in the dugout. While the organization was fined $5 million and manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow were fired for the episode, their World Series championship has stood and no player was suspended for their roles.
Such an idea may be better than the large stable of pitchers who would like to throw a fastball at the Cheats' ribs this season, but it appears that the Saints have found a way to turn the story into a marketing opportunity.