The baseball world is not happy with the Houston Astros. The “apologies” from owner Jim Crane and stars Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman certainly didn’t help their case.
The team most aggrieved in this whole cheating scandal is probably the Los Angeles Dodgers. The franchise, which has come incredibly close to winning a World Series over the last few years, probably had its best shot in 2017. That fall, they lost in seven games to the Astros. 2017 was the first World Series Championship in Astros history.
On Thursday, Houston outfielder Josh Reddick was asked directly about the impact that the sign-stealing ploy had on Dodgers’ star pitcher Clayton Kershaw’s legacy. Kershaw pitched to an ERA of over 4.00 in that series, though many of the other underlying numbers in the series were in line with his full-season statistics. Reddick said that he didn’t believe the team needed to make direct apologies to other players.
Today, Dodgers star Cody Bellinger came out with one of the strongest anti-Astros stances we’ve seen in baseball. While the sport’s discontent with the team has bubbled under the surface through much of the proceedings since The Athletic blew the doors open on the story. Bellinger says that the Astros cost his team the World Series, Altuve cost New York Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge an MVP award, and he didn’t stop there.
Bellinger: "I thought Manfred's punishment was weak, giving them immunity. I mean these guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don't realize is Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us."
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) February 14, 2020
He didn’t stop there either. More, via ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez:
“I lost respect for those guys. I would say everyone in the Show, in the big leagues, lost respect for those guys.”
Cody Bellinger went on to say that the Astros’ home field dominance became “obvious” when the scandal broke, and that he fully believes that they continued cheating over the last two seasons: “A hundred percent. I don’t know why they would stop.”
Perhaps the most aggressive quote, though, was on the now-infamous video of Jose Altuve stopping his teammates from ripping off his jersey after his walk-off ALCS home run. Some have accused Altuve of wearing some sort of buzzer under his jersey as part of the scheme, though the MLB’s investigation did not uncover anything like that.
On Altuve not wanting jersey ripped: “I don’t know what human hits a walk-off HR against Aroldis Chapman to send your team to the WS,” Bellinger said, “and 1, has the thought to say, ‘Don’t rip my jersey off.’ But 2, go into the tunnel, change your shirt, and then come out …”
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) February 14, 2020
Plenty of other teams are upset with Houston as well, but things are definitely at another level with the Dodgers, and it is hard to blame them.