Like a bank robber found with the bag of money stolen from the vault claiming the crime was victimless, the Houston Astros refuse to show real remorse when it comes to their sign-stealing scandal.
And Sean Manaea has had it.
The A's starting pitcher took the Astros to task Thursday after the Astros held a press conference to answer questions about the biggest story in baseball. Astros owner Jim Crane claimed the Astros' digital sign-stealing had no impact on the outcome of games, and players like Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve offered milquetoast apologies that reeked of insincerity.
"Our opinion is that this didn't impact the game." - Jim Crane— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) February 13, 2020
"I didn't say it didn't impact the game." - Jim Crane 55 seconds later pic.twitter.com/MnpPeeTUPL
We have a new record for insincerity in apologies pic.twitter.com/5HyhECge9o— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) February 13, 2020
To Manaea, that's bush league.
“I saw a couple of interviews and they all said pretty much the same thing -- they skated by everything, they swept everything under the rug,” Manaea told Susan Slusser of The San Francisco Chronicle. “They didn’t own up to anything and they’re trying to move on which is like -- what are you guys trying to move on from? You haven’t even said what it is you did.
“They just now said they’re sorry, but what about this entire offseason? It was like: deny, deny, deny. When the time comes, you have to say what you’re trying to move on from. It’s crazy.”
The scandal first came to light when A's starter Mike Fiers, who pitched for the Astros in 2017, told The Athletic in November that his former team had stolen signs using video technology during their 2017 run to the World Series. After an MLB investigation, manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were fired. Bench coaches Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, who had moved on to manage the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets, respectively, also found themselves in the unemployment line.
Still, the Astros have bristled at the idea that they did anything that far outside the lines, But ask any major league pitcher and they'll tell you how much of an impact the sign-stealing had not only on the outcome of games, but also the integrity of the sport.
“It’s a very, very unfair advantage,” Manaea told Slusser. “It’s supposed to be the batter reacting to the pitcher -- that’s the beauty of it. It takes all of that away. It’s messed up.
“It’s like giving your brother the junk controller with the button that doesn’t work and then just whooping his butt all the time.”
The Astros will face questions all season about the scandal and the legitimacy of their World Series title. Crane can say their actions didn't impact the games, but that blatant lie shows how something of this magnitude could permeate the Astros clubhouse. When there is lack of accountability at the top of the organization, and Crane took zero blame Thursday, no one else will feel the need to show remorse.
“What’s the point of cheating then? Why as a team did you collectively do it? Why did no one stop it?” Manaea asked in response to Crane's comments. “You’re not cheating to get worse or be the same. You’re cheating to win.”