Passan’s biggest All-Star surprise? Mariners fans’ hatred of Astros

Jul 11, 2023, 11:38 AM

Seattle Mariners fan MLB Draft...

A fan reacts during the first round of the 2023 MLB Draft at Lumen Field on July 9, 2023. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Seattle Mariners fans have put their stamp on MLB All-Star Week in plenty of ways.

They took over the Home Run Derby to cheer M’s star Julio Rodríguez on to a record-breaking 41 home runs in a single round on Monday night at T-Mobile Park.

Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez: ‘Electric’ derby crowd ‘meant the world to me’

They’ve also made their presence known at every opportunity to cheer on Mariners legends like Ken Griffey Jr. and Raúl Ibañez.

But when it comes to what is setting them apart as they host the MLB All-Star Game and surrounding festivities for the first time in 22 years, ESPN MLB insider Jeff Passan says it’s something that goes the other direction. Not the appreciation for the week – which is clearly there and should not be discounted – but instead vitriol for one rival.

Passan joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk in studio on Tuesday morning for his weekly conversation on the show, and co-host Mike Salk asked him how Seattle compares to other cities that have hosted All-Star Week.

“I’m not just saying this. You know Seattle’s a great sports town,” Passan said. “There’s been one really, really interesting thing that’s happened this week. What do you think it is – in my mind, coming here, something I did not expect?”

Salk’s response: “Food’s great, the weather’s great?”

Passan: “I knew that, I knew that.”

Salk: “So what sets us apart?”

Passan: “The true, deep loathing of the Houston Astros.”

OK, that checks out.

Passan continued: “Oh my god. The draft, (then) last night. I mean, I had no idea. Like, this is worse than I’ve heard it in LA, where they lost the World Series to the Astros. This is worse that I’ve heard it in New York. This is the most concentrated booing of Houston Astros people that I have ever seen, which is something considering we’re going on like five years now after (Houston’s cheating scandal).”

This all became clear Sunday night when MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced the Astros’ first-round pick, which was booed mercilessly by the crowd at Seattle’s Lumen Field. Manfred, who assessed the penalties for the Astros’ cheating on their way to a 2017 World Series championship, looked none too pleased about it.

As Salk explained to Passan, the loathing of the Astros probably goes deeper than the cheating scandal for Mariners fans. After all, Houston has been the best team in the American League West for the majority of the time since it came over from the National League in 2013, and the Astros and Mariners have cleared the benches a couple times over the past two seasons. Oh, and Houston ended Seattle’s first trip to the postseason in two decades last October.

“Well, I think it also has to do with last year – you know, they get knocked out by the Astros – and they’re in the same division,” Salk said. “They showed up in this division, they were supposed to be terrible and they went on, like, the greatest run. I mean, that doesn’t help matters much. They’ve beaten the Mariners I don’t know how many times so you get a lot of frustration there.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with Passan in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on Seattle Mariners’ All-Star Week

Watch: Julio Rodríguez breaks Home Run Derby record in Seattle
‘Something we should all be proud of’: What Mariners All-Stars have to say
Mariners ‘aggressive,’ target ‘big upside’ in 2023 MLB Draft
Seattle Mariners 2023 MLB Draft Tracker: Every M’s pick
Seattle Mariners at All-Star Break: Where do they stand?

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