- Marly Rivera is a writer for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.
TAMPA, Fla. — Did the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing practices continue past the 2017 postseason? New York Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres has no doubt that it did.
“For sure. If you cheated in 2017 and you won, why don’t [you] do [it] the next year, and the next year, too!” Torres said. “I’ll use an example: If I play video games with you and we face the TV and I see your controller and I know what is coming and I hit really well and I win, if you tell me we play again, I’ll do the same thing because I win. So [the Astros] did in ’17 for sure, they did in ’18 and they do ’19. It’s really easy.”
Torres was referring to playing the video game “MLB: The Show” against Yankees pitcher Luis Severino, where he admitted to peeking at his teammate’s controller to see what pitch was coming.
“When I face like Severino, I saw the controller and I did really well and he didn’t know, and the next one I did the same thing and I win!” Torres added.
An investigation by MLB proved the Astros had cheated by using a camera-based, sign-stealing system during their 2017 World Series-winning regular season and playoffs, and during part of the 2018 regular season. The investigation specified that sign stealing did not take place in 2019, which Torres finds hard to believe.
“I heard many people say, ‘Hey, Houston has something on the field,'” he said. “But I can’t believe it because how would you know they have something like media, cameras, everything. But now, I saw the news. It’s not fair.”
In terms of whether sign stealing could have been a factor during the 2019 playoffs, where the Yankees lost in the American League Championship Series to Houston in six games, Torres fell short of blaming it on cheating by the Astros.
“I don’t want to say they cheated and we didn’t go to the World Series, because we lost because we missed too many opportunities, when we played at home, when we played in Houston too,” Torres said. “But during the regular season and postseason they took advantage of the cameras and everything so for sure, I’m [upset] about that.”
New Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was with the Astros in 2018 and ’19. He said last week that he “had no idea any of it was going on and I didn’t see any of it.”
Manager Aaron Boone has repeatedly said that he wants to move forward from having to face questions about the Astros’ cheating scandal, but said Torres, as well as many Yankees, will continue to feel the need to have a say in the matter.
“I’m not surprised,” Boone said when told of Torres’ comments. “My experience of it, my level of emotions that I’ve gone through personally, and not even having a total grasp of it all and not having even reconciled it all in my head, and I know some of the conversations that I’ve had with staff and coaches and people around the league, but our players as well, from their raw emotions when the news broke. And as the days unfold, I’m not surprised by what we’ve seen. Over the next couple of days, as our position players are here now, I think it’s important for them to say whatever they need to say on the matter. If they want to talk about it or not, I’m respectful of that and encourage that. But there will be a time also as a club when it’ll be time to stop talking about it, and lock in on the important business we have in front of us in 2020.”
When asked whether he agrees with Dodgers’ All-Star outfielder Cody Bellinger, who claimed Jose Altuve “stole” the MVP award from Aaron Judge in 2017, Torres told ESPN that there is no way to know that now. Torres is a friend of fellow Venezuelan Altuve, and is close to him, though they have not spoken since the MLB investigation.
“In Venezuela, Altuve is a hero. I don’t want to say that during the  regular season he didn’t put up his numbers or what he did is not real. I really believe that everything he has done is legal,” Torres told ESPN. “But in some situations, I think about what the team did, and the use of a camera and everything, and it doesn’t really feel very good.”
“In 2017, I was injured; I wasn’t in the big leagues. I can’t say many things about that year. But Altuve had a tremendous season. He had tremendous numbers in the playoffs, but if you look at Judge’s numbers, he also did very well. He had a tremendous season as well. But, of course, those are the things that get out of hand. But the personal relationship I have with Altuve will not change. Altuve is my friend, and he is a good person, a humble person. But when things like this happen, they affect baseball. This is what happens when you don’t follow the rules.”
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