In the days after M.L.B. delivered its damning report on the Houston Astros’ cheating scheme last month, a complex mix of emotions began flowing for the players and staff of the Yankees.
The scandal rocked the entire baseball world, but only one team had lost to the Astros twice in the postseason since they implemented their sign-stealing operation three years ago: The Yankees, who fell to Houston in the American League Championship Series in both 2017 and 2019.
There was, of course, anger over the postseason losses to a deceitful opponent, and a clear sense of schadenfreude: Aroldis Chapman, who gave up key runs to Astros hitters during both A.L.C.S.’s, posted a meme of Michael Jackson eating popcorn and smiling with the caption “ME WATCHING ALL THE ASTROS CHEATING DRAMA GO DOWN.” His teammates Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Luis Severino all piled on with laughter emojis.
But for many in the organization, there was a strong sense of validation, because M.L.B.’s report confirmed what the Yankees, among other teams, had been trying to figure out for some time about the Astros.
Fears that the Astros were skirting the rules had bubbled under the surface for years,…