Mattress Mack has never been happier to be back in Houston after sparring with Philadelphia’s notorious fans at the World Series.
“I’m as happy as somebody who was drowning and was saved the third time they went down,” Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale said.
The Houston furniture store owner, who is one Astros win away from winning $72.6 million in World Series wagers, dropped a few F-bombs in an altercation with a Phillies fan that was caught on a video that went viral.
McIngvale, 71, told the Review-Journal what provoked his outburst, in which he was seen shouting ‘(Expletive) you,’ several times at a heckler, who was off camera.
“This guy says, when he sees me, ‘If they ever make those (expletive) Astros take off their jerseys, they’d find a (expletive) buzzer in every one because they’re the biggest cheaters in history. And (expletive) [Jose] Altuve will never make the Hall of Fame because he’s the biggest (expletive) cheater in baseball history.’”
McIngvale added, “That was it for me. Enough’s enough. They told me that Philly fans were terrible. It turned out to be times 10. They’re horrible.”
Philadelphia fans earned their infamous reputation, in part, for once pelting Santa Claus with snowballs and cheering when Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury.
“And they chase you to the car,” McIngvale said. “They were stalking me, with their video camera, trying to provoke me.
“I’m all for fun and a friendly rivalry. But this is just a baseball game. It’s not life and death.”
McIngvale said he has attended Astros games in Boston, Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., without an issue.
“They were great,” he said. “These guys were totally different.”
McIngvale put down wagers of $10 million in May and July on the Astros to win the World Series. The bets are the latest in a series of wagers to reduce risk on furniture promotions. In this case, customers will either get their money back or double their money back on purchases of $3,000 or more if Houston wins it all.
The Astros lost Game 3 on Tuesday when the Phillies tied a World Series record with five home runs in a 7-0 win.
“I will say one thing for those Phillie fans,” McIngvale said. “I was told their stadium was a 12th man. That it was so loud, like the stadium at Texas A&M. And they were right about that. That place was rocking.”
Houston evened the series 2-2 on Wednesday when Cristian Javier and three relievers combined on only the second no-hitter in World Series history in a 5-0 victory.
The Astros held off the Phillies in a 3-2 win Thursday that gave them a 3-2 series lead with the help of a defensive gem by first baseman Trey Mancini in the eighth inning and a leaping catch against the scoreboard by center fielder Chas McCormick in the ninth.
Linda McIngvale, who has been married to McIngvale for 41 years, is recovering from pneumonia and sarcoidosis in Houston and could barely handle the stress of watching the game on TV.
“Her health is much better, but the anxiety is killing her on these baseball games,” McIngvale said. “She told me when they hit that ball to first base and they hit that ball against the wall that she thought she was going to have a heart attack.”
The Astros are -140 home favorites in Saturday’s Game 6 at Caesars Sportsbook, which is on the hook for $30 million to McIngvale if Houston prevails.
“Framber Valdez pitches (Saturday) night. He’s really good and he’s got the home crowd behind him,” McIngvale said. “We’ve got every opportunity. I think the Astros win (Saturday) night. My original thoughts were they would win in six games. We’ll see what happens.”