The Astros sign-stealing scandal has rocked the baseball community near and far. Monday, MLB handed Houston severe penalties for illegally stealing signs during the 2017 season. Those penalties include one-year suspensions for Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch — both of whom were subsequently fired from their positions.
The connection extends out of Houston; the Red Sox (Alex Cora) and Mets (Carlos Beltran) also parted ways with their managers this week in wake of MLB’s thorough investigation. Cora was Houston’s bench coach in 2017 and the mastermind of the scheme, according to The Athletic. Beltran played a key role in devising the scheme.
Cora, who won the World Series with Boston as a rookie manager in 2018, has additional penalties coming. Beltran, hired by the Mets in November, lost his job before making his managerial debut.
Like the Mets, the Cubs hired a first-year manager this offseason in former catcher David Ross. At a Cubs charity event on Thursday, Ross discussed the scandal and its fallout.
On scandal and subsequent punishment
"It is disappointing,” Ross said. “You gotta applaud Major League Baseball for doing their due diligence and upholding the integrity of the game — super important for our fans, for our players, for our coaches. I'm glad they did their homework and made some of the decisions they made."
On if he’s surprised any players weren’t punished
"I think lines get blurred when you talk about who's at fault and it can go all the way down,” he said. “Those things are difficult decisions and I don't have enough information — I wasn't a part of the emails and all the interviews that the MLB had to do, so it'd be tough to comment on exactly who’s at fault and what area and pointing that blame.
“Because in a team sport, there's gotta be somebody at the top that takes the blame. I think Major League Baseball has done a good job of defining that."
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Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo also discussed the scandal Thursday. While he admitted he’s not entirely versed on the topic, he voiced his support for commissioner Rob Manfred.
“Obviously, Major League Baseball did a huge, monster investigation and they decided what they thought was best. I’m sure a lot of decisions and time went into that, so we support them with the consequences they’ve made,” Rizzo said. “It’s something that hopefully gets nixed fast. There’s in-game stuff that’s part of the game, but some of the other stuff seems to take it too far. The commissioner, I think, did a good job handling it."
On if teams cheat against the Cubs
“100 percent. I don’t know if to that extent. I think in-game stuff — I think everyone will say this as well — getting the edge in the game is totally different on the field,” he said. “Some of the video stuff I’ve heard — I don’t know if it’s true, obviously it is with the penalties — that I think takes it a little too far.
“MLB’s done a good job the last few years to have guys in the clubhouse and all-around monitoring it. To be doing it still is not easy, and it’s blatantly going out of the way.
Rizzo added opponents sometimes make sounds as decoys to make teams believe their signs are being stolen.
Regarding whether the Cubs follow the rules
“I think it’s 100 percent safe to say that. Yeah, no doubt,” Rizzo said. “That’s for sure on the record.”Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Cubs easily on your device.