"I don't think people are going to forget it, but I think it's helping them because that was the story of spring training up until the virus," Ottavino said Wednesday on "The No-Sports Report" podcast. "That was all day, every day. It was already to the point where it was exhausting. And, I think that once the season started, they were going to be in for a lot of hatred from fans around the country."
Ottavino also believes the Astros, who cheated during their 2017 World Series-winning season and in parts of 2018, won't receive as much vitriol from fans as the club should because spectators likely won't be able to attend games in 2020.
"So, to me, I think this is helping them, especially when they come back, there are definitely not going to be any fans in the stands," the right-handed pitcher said. "So, I think that helps them. Some of (the Astros) have kind of come out of the cave and went back on social media, doing all their stuff, and, you know, good for them, power to them."
The Astros received a lot of heated criticism during spring training, which included a few major leaguers hinting that physical retaliation should be on the table. Houston manager Dusty Baker even asked MLB to help prevent on-field incidents during the season, although the league's proposed player-safety protocols would prohibit fighting between players.
Former Astros manager AJ Hinch and ex-general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended and subsequently fired due to their roles in the sign-stealing scandal, while the team also lost its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and received a $5-million fine.