Astros: Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve apologized for sign-stealing
By Brian Murray
Astros stars Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve expressed remorse and apologized for their part in the sign-stealing scandal in an early morning press conference.
The long-awaited statements by the Houston Astros to address the sign-stealing took place this morning at a press conference in their spring training facility at West Palm Beach, Florida. Owner Jim Crane opened it up with his statement, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve then stepped up to the microphone and apologized for their involvement, and that was followed up by a brief statement from new manager Dusty Baker.
Crane’s statement was pretty much a recap of his original statement that was made after the MLB investigation was complete and the punishments were doled out. He reiterated that the leadership of the team failed to do their job for not putting a stop to it. He said that he went above and beyond MLB’s suspensions of Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch and fired them.
Crane backed up his team agreeing with MLB’s decision to not discipline the players saying they should not be punished for the failure of their leadership, adding that they “are a great group of guys that did not receive proper guidance from their leaders.”
He expressed that what happened can’t be undone and they’re fully committed to moving forward in the right way and he had confidence in the new leadership of GM James Click and manager Dusty Baker to ensure that happens.
Bregman was the first player to step up and speak to the press, and to be honest, it was a difficult thing to watch. I personally thought that you could see true remorse in his eyes and mannerisms. He apologized for the choices that were made by the organization, the team, and himself, and stated the team is focused on moving forward.
Altuve followed up Bregman and stated that the organization and the team are very sorry and feel bad for how it impacted baseball and their fans. He said he looked forward to moving forward and playing with intensity and bringing back a championship to Houston.
Baker came up and made the final statement of the press conference and I’ve got to hand it to the guy, it takes a man of courage to come into this situation and lead this club forward in what will most assuredly be a difficult time ahead. He addressed that by saying he has dealt with a lot of changes in his life that have prepared him for what the team is going to encounter this season.
He told the press about the meeting the team had the previous night and how they were extremely sorry, remorseful and embarrassed. He then asked for the baseball world to forgive the team for the mistakes they made in the past and he echoed that he wants to bring a championship back to this town.
Then came the really interesting part, the question and answer session. The players had left the area and returned to the locker room after their statements, so Crane fielded all of the questions from the press.
He was asked when the cheating stopped and was questioned about the usage of buzzers in 2019. He said the sign-stealing ceased at some time in early 2018 and denied that there were any buzzers used and didn’t even know where that rumor came from. Crane added that the MLB investigation looked into that matter and found nothing and he was confident in their findings.
One reporter even brought up that indications point to the fact that maybe a half a dozen other teams may have been involved in similar schemes and asked what he thought about it and any future investigations. Of course, he gave the expected answer and said we’re just concentrating on our team and he has no control over that.
It did get a little contentious at one point when a reporter asked Crane if he would define what the Astros did as “cheating.” He danced around the question a bit and the reporter seemed to insist on getting him to admit it was cheating. The closest he got was saying that “they broke the rules” and you can call it whatever you want.
I have to give huge kudos to Bregman and Altuve for stepping up and facing the press and speaking for the team. That had to be extremely difficult for them and it takes a man of great character and honor to apologize and ask for forgiveness in front of the entire baseball world.
All in all, I’m just glad this is over and I feel the Astros were above board and handled it extremely well. I’m sure the press, opposing players and fans may not feel it was enough and I know this won’t be the end of it. But can we just move on and play baseball? It’s done, it’s in the past, let it go!