Baseball players are mad.
No, some of them are more than mad. Some of them are downright furious.
Few players have opened up about their feelings on the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal before the start of spring training, but as players start trickling in to camp, a lot more have given their opinions about baseball’s biggest controversy since steroids. Here’s what they have to say:
Cody Bellinger: ‘Everyone knows they stole the ring from us.’
One of the latest players to add fuel to the fire, Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger had some choice words for Rob Manfred on Friday.
“I thought Manfred’s punishment was weak, giving them immunity,” Bellinger said. “I mean these guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don’t realize is Altuve stole an MVP from (Aaron) Judge in ’17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us.”
Bellinger also sparked further discussion about whether the Astros wore buzzers under their jerseys to tell them what pitch was coming.
“I don’t know what human hits a walk-off home run against Aroldis Chapman to send your team to the World Series and, one, has the thought to say, ‘Don’t rip my jersey off,’” Bellinger said. “But to go in the tunnel, change your shirt, and then come out and do your interview — that makes no sense to me. Makes zero sense to me. Because I know me. Gary Sanchez said it yesterday. You can rip my shirt off, my pants off, I sent my team to the World Series off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning, at home, I’m going crazy.”
FAGAN: MLB players must speak loudly and publicly to stop cheating in real time
Andrew Heaney: ‘I hope they feel like s—t.’
Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney was one of the first players to come out cursing the Astros, and Wednesday he did not hold back in his rant.
“I’m not going to make excuses for those guys. I know how it is. You get caught up in something. I’m sure they look back now and say, ‘Oh f—k, we really took that overboard.’ But I think somebody in that locker room had to have enough insight to say this is not OK. … For nobody to stand up and nobody to say ‘we’re cheating other players,’ that sucks. That’s a sh—ty feeling for everybody. I hope they feel like s—t.”
Mike Bolsinger: ‘The Astros had robbed me.’
Former Blue Jays pitcher Mike Bolsinger, who is suing the Astros for essentially ending his career with their sign-stealing, wrote an op-ed piece for the Washington Post explaining his decision. In it, Bolsinger writes about his decision, and how the sign-stealing affected not only his career, but the well-being of his family.
“The Astros had robbed me of the opportunity to determine my own future on the mound. If I failed at my craft because I wasn’t good enough, that would be on me. I could live with that. But thinking about the cheating and the toll it ultimately took on my family — that was something I couldn’t tolerate.”
Bolsinger was designated for assignment after a disastrous Aug. 4 outing against the Astros in which he gave up four home runs in one-third of an inning. He ended up pitching in Japan to provide for his wife and unborn son. When he found out what the Astros had done, he was “shocked and angry.”
“The team hasn’t adequately dealt with its cheating during the 2017 season, when Houston won the World Series, and just announcing that you’re moving forward doesn’t mean you can leave behind the damage you’ve done,” Bolsinger said. He is demanding that the Astros donate their $31 million in 2017 postseason bonuses to charity, in addition to seeking personal damages.
Aroldis Chapman: ‘They look very suspicious.’
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman was more gracious with his answer, but still thought that what the Astros were doing made them more competitive.
“Is that the sole reason they won the World Series? I don’t know,” Chapman said. “But what I can say that when you have an advantage like that, it’s definitely going to make you a stronger team.”
Chapman gave up the series-clinching homerun to José Altuve in game 6 of the 2019 American League Championship Series, a video that was widely circulated by proponents of the Astros wearing buzzers theory.
“Yeah, I’ve seen that video,” Chapman said. “I think a lot of people have seen that video. It’s a popular video right now. And yeah, if you look at his actions, they look a little suspicious. But at the end of the day, I just don’t know.”
Kurt Suzuki: ‘It’s so stupid and so wrong.’
As catcher for the Nationals’ World Series championship team, Kurt Suzuki had no doubt in his mind that the Astros were still cheating in 2019, despite that MLB found no evidence of cheating past 2017.
“Oh, yeah, no question,” Suzuki said. “We could hear it from their dugout. We heard their whistling. What are you going to do?”
Suzuki also talked about the intense precautions that the Nationals adapted to prevent the Astros from stealing their signs.
“The whole thing was crazy. I got messed up on signs a couple of times, had to call time and take us out of rhythm. I kept thinking, ‘We have to go to the field and work early on our signs in the World Series just to stop their cheating.’ It’s so stupid and so wrong.”
Sean Manaea: ‘They skated by everything, they swept everything under the rug.’
Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea just wants the Astros to admit they were wrong.
“I saw a couple of interviews and they all said pretty much the same thing — they skated by everything, they swept everything under the rug,” Manaea said. “They didn’t own up to anything and they’re trying to move on which is like — what are you guys trying to move on from? You haven’t even said what it is you did.
“They just now said they’re sorry, but what about this entire offseason? It was like: deny, deny, deny. When the time comes, you have to say what you’re trying to move on from. It’s crazy.”
Manaea also disagreed with Astros’ owner Jim Crane’s comments about the lack of an advantage.
“It’s a very, very unfair advantage, Manaea said. “It’s like giving your brother the junk controller with the button that doesn’t work and then just whooping his butt all the time.”
Trevor Bauer: ‘They are hypocrite, they are cheaters.’
Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer, never one to back down from a controversy, offered similar sentiments to Bellinger and Heaney.
“They’ve stolen from a lot of other people and the game itself was completely unfair.”
Bauer then called out the Astros directly, saying “You guys think you are better than everyone and you don’t have to abide by the rules? F—k you. You know? That’s how I feel about their whole operation.”
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