When Spring Training opened across Major League Baseball this week, much of the conversation was dominated by the Houston Astros, their sign-stealing scandal and now-infamous press conference in which prepared statements earned the organization more criticism.
Players across the league have spoken out about the cheating that took place and subsequent punishment levied by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. Many have been critical, including Los Angeles Dodgers teammates Cody Bellinger and Alex Wood.
Bellinger focused his frustration on Astros owner Jim Crane, 2017 American League MVP Jose Altuve and Manfred. Bellinger additionally accused the Astros of cheating for three seasons; MLB’s investigation determined they did so in 2017 and 2018.
His comments reached the Astros, which led to a sharp retort from Carlos Correa, via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:
“The problem I have is when players go out there and they don’t know the facts, they’re not informed about the situation and they just go out there and go on camera and just talk. With me, that doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem right at all. So when he (Bellinger) talks about that we cheated for three years he either doesn’t know how to read, is really bad at reading comprehension, or is just not informed at all. The commissioner’s report clearly says that all those activities were conducted in 2017. 2018 nothing happened. 2019 nothing happened. It was just talented players, playing the game of baseball with passion and winning ballgames.”
As for Bellinger’s questioning Altuve’s MVP Award, Correa said he was among the Astros players who did not utilize the trash can scheme:
“So when we move forward and he talks about Altuve. He says, “José Altuve cheated Judge out of the MVP.” Cody, you don’t know the facts. Nobody wants to talk about this but I’m going to talk about this. José Altuve was the one guy that didn’t use the trash can.
“The few times that the trash can was banged was without his consent and he would go inside the clubhouse and inside the dugout to whoever was banging the trash can and he would get pissed. He would get mad. He would say, “I don’t want this. I can’t hit like this. Don’t you do that to me.” He played the game clean. … For him to go out there and defame José Altuve’s name like that, it doesn’t sit right with me. The man plays the game clean. That’s easy to find out.
Correa also explained why Altuve instructed teammates not to rip his jersey off after hitting a home run that put the Astros in the 2019 World Series:
“So, one, he didn’t want to take his shirt off because his wife had told my wife earlier in the year for me to not to do that. So he was telling me not to do it. And, number two, he had an unfinished tattoo that looked kinda bad, that he didn’t want people to see and people to talk about. That was the reason.”
Lastly, Correa had a blunt message for Bellinger:
“But, like I said before, what doesn’t sit well with me is when you say false statements. If you don’t know the facts. If you’re not informed. This is America. You can say whatever you want. But Cody Bellinger’s job is to look for information. Get informed. Know the facts, for sure, before he stands in front of cameras to talk about other players. You should get informed. You should be informed before you talk about other players. If you don’t know the facts, then you’ve got to shut the f–k up.”
While Altuve and Alex Bregman stumbled through remarks in Thursday’s press conference, Correa has been one of the few players to take accountability for the team’s misconduct. Of course, that’s done little to change public perception or quell anger from other players.
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