Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Astros Apologize for Sign-Stealing Scandal

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2020

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 19:  A Houston Astros hat and glove are seen on the field before Game Six of the League Championship Series against the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on October 19, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane, new manager Dusty Baker and players Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman addressed the media Thursday about the team's sign-stealing scandal that dominated headlines this offseason.

"I want to say again how sorry our team is for what happened," Crane said. "I want to repeat this will never happen again on my watch."

Major League Baseball called the scandal a "player-driven scheme," but Crane said of the players, "These are a great group of guys who did not receive proper guidance from their leaders."

Altuve and Bregman each issued a statement but did not take questions at the press conference.

"I am really sorry about the choices that were made by my team, by the organization and by me," Bregman said. "I've learned from this, and I hope to regain the trust of baseball fans."

Altuve added: "I want to say that the whole Astros organization and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017. We especially feel remorse for the impact on the fans and the game of baseball. And our team is determined to move forward."

Baker said, "I want to ask for the baseball world to forgive them for the mistakes they made."

After the press conference, shortstop Carlos Correa spoke to MLB Network and also apologized for the scandal: "There's no excuse for it. We were wrong. We feel really sorry. We affected careers and the game in some way. Looking back at it it was just bad ... For that we're paying the price now."

Houston won the 2017 World Series in a seven-game series over the Los Angeles Dodgers and has remained one of the best teams in baseball since, most recently falling to the Washington Nationals in seven games in the 2019 World Series.

After the fallout in January, the league fined the Astros $5 million, stripped them of their first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and suspended then-general manager Jeff Luhnow and then-manager AJ Hinch for a year. The Astros eventually fired both Luhnow and Hinch.

Yet Crane added: "Our opinion is this didn't impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series, and we'll leave it at that."

He also told reporters to "frame it any way you want" when asked if the team cheated but said, "no, I don't think I should be held accountable."

Players reportedly wore buzzers under their jerseys to notify them of what pitch was coming, which made headlines when someone claiming to be the niece of former Astros player Carlos Beltran alleged Altuve and Bregman were doing so.

Beltran's family told ESPN's Marly Rivera the person was not related to the family, but that didn't stop social media users from circulating video of Altuve's walk-off home run in the 2019 American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

His pleading with teammates to not rip off his jersey fueled speculation there was a buzzer underneath:

Altuve previously denied he was wearing a buzzer through his agent, Scott Boras, per the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

On Thursday, Crane said, "I truly believe there were no buzzers, ever, and I don't even know where that came from."

The Dodgers, after losing the 2017 World Series to the Astros, also fell in the 2018 Series to the Boston Red Sox, who are also under investigation for its use of electronic sign-stealing.

Crane, though, said he doesn't think it's "necessary to reach out to the Dodgers."

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