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Houston Astros seek absolution that may never come over cheating saga

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – So, what now?

The apologies have been recited, and in some cases even spoken from the heart. Now, the Houston Astros venture into a 2020 season where they’ll be subjected to jeering fans and the occasional misguided fastball that might find their backside.

Major-league players are already on record that that would be appropriate recourse. Thousands of fans are disgusted by their behavior.

And the Astros know all this. The questions they will ponder now:

Will their stint as baseball’s heels last so long as Jim Crane owns the team, and stars like Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa remain core players?

And what, if anything, can they do to flip what appears to be an ironclad script this season?

“This will probably be something that will be spoken about for a long time,” said outfielder Josh Reddick. “It’s something we’re going to have to learn how to cope with and put behind us and play baseball.

START AT THE TOP:Astros’ issues start with ownership

ROUGH DAY:Astros apologize to everybody – and nobody – at the same time

“When we do win, that will be the best way to get over it.”

At home, anyway.

Justin Verlander and the Houston Astros have a long road ahead of them this season.

On the road, fans are already organizing to jeer them; a fan group representing the Los Angeles Dodgers – beaten by the Astros in the now-tainted 2017 World Series – will travel to Anaheim when the Astros pay their first visit, simply to try and extract a pound of flesh – figuratively.

That term could take on a more literal connotation between the white lines. Cleveland Indians ace Mike Clevinger said that he believes it’s not “going to be a comfortable few ABs (at-bats) for a lot of those boys, and it shouldn’t be. They shouldn’t be comfortable.”

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