MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Houston Astros batters didn't use wearable devices such as buzzers as part of the team's larger sign-stealing scheme, but New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman appears unconvinced.
As he rounded third base and approached home plate following his walk-off home run in the American League Championship Series, Astros star Jose Altuve gestured to his teammates not to rip off his jersey in the celebration.
Chapman commented on the matter.
"I've seen that video—a lot of people have seen that video; it's a popular video right now," he said, per ESPN's Buster Olney. "And yeah, if you look at his actions, they look a little suspicious. At the end of the day, I just don't know."
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez used a different tact when discussing Altuve's home run:
Altuve's agent, Scott Boras, told the New York Post's Joel Sherman that the six-time All-Star's "shyness" was the reason he didn't want to expose his torso to a national audience.
While uncovering the use of the Astros' replay room to steal opposing team's signs, Manfred said the league discovered no evidence Houston players had devices under their jerseys to alert them of the upcoming pitch.
"I will tell you this: we found no Band-Aid buzzer issues," he said to Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci. "There's a lot of paranoia out there."
However, the issue refuses to go away and is likely to remain at the forefront after Altuve, Alex Bregman and owner Jim Crane spoke to reporters Thursday.
Altuve and Bregman offered brief statements without taking questions from reporters:
Crane then downplayed how much he thought the sign-stealing scheme helped the Astros:
Chapman questioned the opinion.
"Is that the sole reason they won the World Series? I don’t know," he said, per Olney. "But what I can say that when you have an advantage like that, it’s definitely going to make you a stronger team."
Crane's assertion was met with general skepticism on social media as well:
The attention paid to the scandal might lessen somewhat with the start of the regular season, when everybody will have more to talk about in MLB.
But the scrutiny directed toward the Astros is bound to linger should they continue to enjoy success on the field.