Astros owner Jim Crane is pointing fingers.
Crane believes sign-stealing – and cheating in general – is present around the league, with the blame falling solely on the Astros.
“I think [MLB] had a bigger problem than everybody realized,’’ Crane told USA Today. “Two other teams [the Yankees and Red Sox] were doing things and got caught, but we’re the ones who took the bullet. That’s the way it works. I’m not trying to blame anyone else. It was our problem. We dealt with it.”
Although no players on the Astros were suspended, the team ended up firing manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for the intricate sign-stealing scandal that aided their 2017 World Series title. The Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora for his involvement as bench coach under Hinch, and the Mets fired newly-hired Carlos Beltran before he ever managed a game for his involvement as a player in Houston.
In 2017, the Red Sox were fined for “sending electronic communications from their video replay room to an athletic trainer in the dugout” for the purpose of stealing signals from the opposing catcher, the league announced at the time.
The Yankees filed the complaint against the Red Sox at the time. In a counterclaim, the Red Sox complained that the Yankees attempted to steal signs against them as well, but an investigation found “insignificant evidence,” according to commissioner Rob Manfred’s office.
The Yankees are in a court battle in an attempt to avoid the details of that investigation being unsealed.
In May, the Red Sox were penalized for sign-stealing in 2018, when they won the World Series. They lost a second-round draft pick and video replay operator J.T. Watkins was suspended for the postseason.
“I don’t know if this whole thing is over,” Crane said. “I think after this year it will calm down. But it will always be out there.”
Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly was recently suspended eight games for throwing at Alex Bregman’s head.
In the MLB’s investigation into Houston’s cheating, the report said the team has an “insular culture” problem. It cited not just the sign-stealing, but also former assistant GM Brandon Taubman, was fired after shouting “Thank God we got [Robert] Osuna” at female reporters in the clubhouse. The Astros traded for Osuna, who was suspended for allegedly hitting the mother of his son while with the Blue Jays.
Despite all this, Crane doesn’t see a problem in his front office.
“People say we had a culture problem,” Crane said. “We didn’t have a culture problem. They’re isolated incidents that are unrelated. Even the sign-stealing thing, I just think everybody was paranoid that everybody was doing it. The technology was right in front of you. We already know two other teams were doing it and got caught.”
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