Thursday looks like yet another tough day for the Astros in an offseason packed with them. The club sent a few representatives out to discuss its sign-stealing scandal that many believe has tarnished its laundry list of accomplishments from recent years. The news conference wasn’t well-received, as multiple players and owner Jim Crane only offered perfunctory apologies for the team’s wrongdoing. What’s more, Crane called on manager Dusty Baker to ask for forgiveness on the club’s behalf. The problem? Baker had nothing to do with the Astros’ misdeeds. He only just joined the Astros as their skipper Jan. 29, a couple weeks after the team bid adieu to suspended predecessor A.J. Hinch.
Among their possible crimes, Astros hitters may have worn electronic buzzers under their jerseys last season in order to help identify which pitches were coming. Major League Baseball investigated the matter, but it didn’t find any evidence supporting those accusations. Questions about it have persisted, though. Crane said Thursday, “I truly believe there were no buzzers ever.” Prominent members of the roster agree, for what it’s worth, as Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle relays.
Second baseman Jose Altuve’s walk-off home run against the Yankees in Game 6 of last year’s American League Championship Series sent the Astros to the World Series. Altuve wouldn’t let his teammates rip off his jersey as he approached home plate to celebrate, but he quickly went into the locker room to change his shirt after that. Some may regard that as damning evidence that he was wearing a device at the time, though the former AL MVP vehemently denied those claims Thursday.
“It was a fake Twitter account that started everything,” Altuve said. “It makes me upset that a fake Twitter account had that much credibility. Like I said, I feel bad for 2017 but I can say something that I didn’t do was the buzzer thing. No one on this team wore a buzzer.”
The “fake Twitter account,” now deactivated, belonged to someone claiming to be the niece of former Astro Carlos Beltran – one of the central figures in the team’s 2017 sign-stealing scheme. The Beltran family denied that was the case when the story came out last month, however.
“That’s a lie. Nobody wore buzzers. Nobody wore devices,” insisted Correa, who added the “story should be killed already.”
Both Springer and Reddick said that was “absolutely not” the case, while Reddick offered, “no, not to my knowledge.”
Considering the events of the past few weeks, you’d be within your rights to have a hard time believing what the Astros are saying. But even if the team didn’t wear buzzers, it’s obvious at this point there were other violations in recent years. Hence, the mess the Astros find themselves in now.