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MLB players are not happy with the Astros’ ‘weak’ apology and lack of punishment

“They sure as shit need to do more than what they already did.”

Houston Astros Media Availability Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

One of the central goals of punishment is to discourage the recurrence of the event in question. The early read on the Astros sign-stealing penalties is MLB wasn’t nearly harsh enough.

Astros players were granted immunity by Major League Baseball during their investigation, and no players are expected to be punished in the soon-to-be-published Red Sox investigation either. Houston and Boston aren’t the only teams accused of skirting baseball’s rules, with at least seven other teams named by Astros personnel as electronic sign stealers in MLB’s investigation, per Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.

The only way to rebuild trust in the game after this debacle is to make sure this malfeasance doesn’t happen again, which means stricter rules for use of video rooms around the league, and harsher penalties for rule-breakers, including the players. It’s something the players union would have to agree to through collective bargaining. Judging from the response to the Astros scandal, it might not be hard to drum up support.

Players reported to spring training camps across the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues this week, and several had thoughts on the Astros, their punishment, and incredibly weak apology.

The aggrieved

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez referenced Jose Altuve’s pennant-winning home run in Game 6 of last year’s ALCS, after which Altuve was adamant that none of his teammates rip off his jersey. Rumors abound about the Astros wearing buzzers beneath their jerseys, which to date have been denied by several on the team. MLB has as yet found no evidence of the buzzers.

“I can tell you that if I hit a homer and I get my team to the World Series, they can rip off my pants. Everything. They can rip everything off,” Sanchez told reporters Thursday. “If I get my team to the World Series, hitting a walk-off homer like that, they can rip anything off.”

Aroldis Chapman allowed that home run to Altuve, and Thursday told reporters, “I think a lot of people have seen that video. It’s a popular video right now. If you look at his actions, it’s a little suspicious, right? But at the end of the day, I just don’t know.”

The Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series to the Astros, and the Yankees lost the ALCS in both 2017 and 2019 to Houston, so their beefs are more personal. But other teams have players angry about the Astros, too.

Other players

Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger said of the Astros, “I don’t think any of those motherfuckers should be able to look us in the eye. They should feel ashamed.”

Todd Frazier retweeted an article in which a body language expert said Altuve wasn’t telling the truth and “the whole thing was scripted bull.”

Mike Bolsinger, who allowed four runs while recording just one out in a relief appearance in Houston at the height of the Astros’ electronic sign-stealing in August 2017, is suing the team.

“I want my lawsuit to lead to positive change,” Bolsinger opined in The Washington Post. “Baseball is at an important crossroads. How the game responds to this scandal will define its credibility and its existence for years to come.”

Bolsinger hasn’t pitched in the majors since that disastrous outing, is no longer on a 40-man roster and is not part of the union. But his sentiment is shared by many players around the league, and that’s going to be important going forward.