The Houston Astros cannot seem to handle the 2017 cheating scandal correctly from the top of the organization, all the way to the bottom. This organization is becoming more and more of a joke. The Astros were proven to have technology feeding opposing teams’ signs to a TV in the their dugout. They would then relay the incoming pitch to the batter by banging a pattern loud enough for the batter hear. This would tell the batter what pitch was coming. Jim Crane, owner of the Astros, promised an apologetic press conference at the start of spring training a couple weeks ago.
Today, February 13, 2020, the Houston Astros held this press conference that was supposed to be an apology to all MLB teams and fans. Instead, it was more of a fake apology to try and appease the league. Crane spoke along with Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, two of their best players in the league for the past few years. Crane said, “we do not think it impacted the game.” He followed that by saying it may have or may not have impacted the game. Crane continued by saying “we are apologizing for breaking the rules,” not for negatively impacting the game. Crane was all over the place during the press conference, having trouble saying the right things. Negligence and unpreparedness by the Astros organization was my takeaway throughout the conference.
Let’s talk about the impact that Crane believes was not apparent during their 2017 title run. It is extremely difficult to be sitting on a 95+ mph fastball and suddenly adjust to a 75-80 mph off speed pitch. Batters have less than a second to see the baseball once it leaves the pitchers hand. Knowing that an off speed pitch is coming allows the batter to sit back and wait on it. Regardless, let’s look at numbers to see how the 2017 ALCS was impacted. The first two games took place in Houston, where the Astros scored four runs combined. The Yankees only scored two. The series then came to New York for three games. The Astros scored one, four, and zero runs in Games three, four, and five. The series returned to Houston for the last two games where Astros went from scoring a combined five runs in New York, to scoring 11 in the last two games. The Astros somehow went from scoring zero in game five, to scoring seven and four in the last two games. Something seems off here but apparently there’s no impact on the game.Alex Bregman is usually arrogant and cocky when speaking to the media, but seemed to be the only one taking responsibility for the scandal. He apologized saying he was sorry for what the team, organization, and he did. Although he actually said sorry for what he did and including himself as an individual in his apology, it still seemed like it was for show. None of the Astros organization seems truly sorry for what they did. You almost feel as if they think it was fair of them to do. Jose Altuve spoke after him and was a complete joke. Instead of taking responsibility, Altuve put it on the entire team and reflected any blame from himself. He spoke about the “whole organization” being remorseful for what they did, and that they felt "bad." Thank you Altuve for your organization feeling “bad”. This press conference took the already defamed Astros and made them look like a classless joke of a franchise.
Around the league players are speaking up and people are questioning the Astros. New reports are coming out about how a new team suspected the Astros cheating but weren’t listened too until now. Mike Clevinger has even hinted at throwing at Astros batters due to their lack of punishment.
Multiple Yankees have spoken out about the Astros. Aroldis Chapman has said he suspected something whenever he pitched against them. Aaron Judge deleted an Instagram picture he posted of Altuve congratulating him for the 2017 MVP. Gary Sanchez might have won quote of the year before the regular season even started. The Yankees catcher was asked about Altuve not wanting his teammates to rip off his jersey due a buzzer being beneath it. Sanchez said that if he ever hit a homerun to send his team to the World Series; he would let them rip off anything they wanted.
Rob Manfred has also been the center of attention due to role in punishing the Astros. Trevor Bauer has been very vocal about the MLB Commissioner’s lack of action towards the players and organization. He’s been on several radio shows and has been very active on twitter attacking the commissioner. People are even questioning how the Astros players were given complete immunity for their statements about the scandal. These players are allowed to get off without any consequence yet Pete Rose is banned from the MLB for life due to him betting on games. Player that cheated in order to have an unfair advantage are still allowed to get paid and play, but Pete Rose can’t even be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The entire situation makes Major League Baseball look soft.