Aroldis Chapman: Jose Altuve's Actions After Walk-off vs. Yankees 'Suspicious'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2020

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve celebrates walk off against New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman to win Game 6 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Houston. The Astros won 6-4 to win the series 4-2. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

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:

Lindsey Adler @lindseyadler

Gary Sánchez on the video of Jose Altuve protecting his jersey after Game 6 of the ALCS: "If I hit a homer and get my team to the World Series, they can rip off my pants. They can rip everything off."

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:


Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve apologize on behalf of the Astros for the sign-stealing scandal: "We have learned from this, and we hope to regain the trust of baseball fans" https://t.co/5cwjyHE1Q2

Crane then downplayed how much he thought the sign-stealing scheme helped the Astros:

Yankees Videos @snyyankees

Jim Crane says the Astros' sign-stealing didn't affect their World Series title in 2017: "Our opinion is this didn't impact the game" https://t.co/fKh1UxFLC6

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:

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

Crane says that he doesn't think the sign-stealing impacted the game. "We won the World Series and we'll leave it at that." Why would the players have done it, if it had no impact? And if it had no impact, what are they apologizing for?

Bill Shaikin @BillShaikin

Jim Crane: "We're apologizing because we broke the rules." He won't concede breaking the rules gave the Astros an advantage. This press conference was an absolute disaster for the Astros.

Lindsey Adler @lindseyadler

In what world is Jim Crane living in where knowing what pitch type is coming is *not* an absolute competitive advantage?

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.