Avoiding any specifics about their team’s sign-stealing during its 2017 World Series championship season, Houston Astros players Alex Bregman and José Altuve apologized Thursday for the scheme that was investigated and punished by Major League Baseball.
Fans say their apology came up short.
Astros owner Jim Crane and new manager Dusty Baker — who replaced the fired AJ Hinch — also spoke at a news conference at the team’s spring training facility.
And while the clear purpose was to say, “We’re sorry” and hope to move on, Crane raised eyebrows with this statement: “Our opinion is that this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series. And we’ll leave it at that.”
Asked moments later about his statement about the effects on the game, Crane tried to backtrack, saying, “It’s hard to determine how it impacted the game, if it impacted the game.”
Astros owner Jim Crane on the Astros' cheating scandal: "Our opinion is that this didn't impact the game."
Crane when asked again later in the news conference: "I didn't say it didn't impact the game." pic.twitter.com/An3ex7zbWV
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 13, 2020
MLB did not punish any players for cheating and Crane said he stood by that.
“We’re not going to do anything to the players,” the owner said.
Altuve said there was a full team meeting Wednesday to discuss what happened.
You can watch Altuve’s apology below:
Jose Altuve with a brief statement on the sign-stealing.
— theScore (@theScore) February 13, 2020
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Many fans and figures around the league who caught wind of the apology were less than convinced that the Astros players and organization were contrite.
“Absolutely awful,” one Twitter user Steve Gelbs wrote.
One minute and twenty-five seconds combined from Bregman and Altuve. No questions. Absolutely awful.pic.twitter.com/cKlOIVQTld
— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) February 13, 2020
Another Twitter user pointed out the Astros organization had weeks to come up with a statement on the incident.
The Astros had 23 days to come up with an apology plan, and the best Jim Crane could do was saying that sign-stealing didn’t impact the game. Today made everything significantly worse for Houston, and added even more fuel to the fire. https://t.co/DfZCkSHZS4
— Joon Lee (@joonlee) February 13, 2020
If it was possible for the #astros to make themselves look worse — #mlb too — they did this morning. Altuve & Bregman spoke for a combined 90 seconds. Then this from the owner. Rob Manfred can't be happy. Baseball fans certainly shouldn't be. https://t.co/SBynicfc22
— Mike Zeisberger (@Zeisberger) February 13, 2020
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred disciplined the Astros after he found the team broke rules by using electronics to steal signs during its run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season.
The Astros were fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under major league rules, and forfeited their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.
The investigation found the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to view and decode opposing catchers’ signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve chances of getting a hit.
Crane said the scheme was used in 2017 and part of 2018, but ended during that season.
He said there was nothing to the notion that Astros hitters used buzzers to get information about pitches.
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“I truly believe there was no buzzers, ever,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this article