The Houston Astros have not only been given a Scarlett letter of sorts because of their cheating in the 2017 World Series, but the organization as a whole has largely been devoid of remorse when discussing the misconduct.
Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman struck a bit of a defiant tone during Astros FanFest, and one month later they, along with owner Jim Crane, fell flat when reading prepared statements in a press conference as Spring Training got underway.
Criticism of the Astros has been widespread, with multiple Los Angeles Dodgers players part of the chorus. Namely Cody Bellinger, whose comments set Carlos Correa off with an impassioned — at times unfounded — retort.
Meanwhile, Astros manager Dusty Baker has publicly put the onus on Major League Baseball to prevent his players from being thrown at as a means of retaliation, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan
“I’m depending on the league to try to put a stop to this seemingly premeditated retaliation that I’m hearing about,” Baker said Saturday morning. “And in most instances in life, you get kind of reprimanded when you have premeditated anything. I’m just hoping that the league puts a stop to this before somebody gets hurt.”
When it appeared he was being traded to the L.A. Angels and therefore would face the Astros with plenty of frequency this season, Ross Stripling admitted he began giving thought to hitting their batters.
Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger recently said he anticipated players taking matters into their own hands and he predicted Astros players would have uncomfortable at-bats. Clevinger will need to wait at least six weeks before he can possibly carry that out due to knee surgery.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is understanding of his players speaking out against the Astros, though he has continued to emphasize a tone and focus of moving forward. Roberts said he does not intend to bring the matter up when he address the team before their first full-squad workout.
Baker is one of the more respected figures in the game, but he’s certainly been thrust into a difficult situation. Furthermore, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has already faced his own criticism because of granting Astros players immunity in exchange for cooperating with the league’s investigation.
Explicitly telling teams not to seek retribution presumably would place further strain on the relationship between Manfred and other players and clubs.
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