As Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers and catchers were arriving at Camelback Ranch on their official report date — and joined by several position players already in camp for the start of Spring Training — the Houston Astros were holding a press conference to address their sign stealing.
A lack of accountability from the organization had garnered the Astros plenty of criticism even after Major League Baseball levied historic punishments. There still was an absence of contrite Thursday as owner Jim Crane and Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman read from prepared statements.
Crane reiterated a belief the Astros’ sign stealing did not have an impact on results of games, and he said there was not any sense of needing to speak with and apologize to the Dodgers. The Astros’ public relations missteps continued, but the fallout did not reach Glendale, Ariz.
“Honestly, I’ve been out in the cages and watching ‘pens. I understand it took place this morning, but I have no idea what transpired,” answered Dodgers manager Dave Roberts when asked for his opinion of the press conference.
“Speaking for this camp, we’re very focused internally, and understanding what took place (in 2017), but our guys are really focused on ’20. Obviously, there’s been some good things that have happened for us the last couple days. We’re kind of just focused on getting ready for 2020.
“As far as Mr. Crane, I didn’t see it and can’t speak for him. He can give his thoughts and opinions, which he’s entitled to, so I’m not going to speak to that. As far as the game of baseball, there’s a lot of variables. Anyone who’s played the game and knows the game, [sign stealing] can impact the game. I think that’s not going out on a limb.”
Roberts previously addressed the Astros and his friendship with former manager AJ Hinch during an appearance at Dodgers FanFest. In the time since, it’s been alleged the Houston front office was more involved in the scheme than previously reported.
“I think that our stance has been what happened, happened. There’s nothing we can do to change it,” Roberts said. “Regardless of who’s involved or not involved, really doesn’t change our outlook on things.
“For us, our story is moving forward. I think it’s good for us as an organization and I think it’s good for baseball. A lot of good things are going to happen in ’20.”
In emphasizing the Dodgers not become consumed by the past, Roberts further explained he had individual conversations with players throughout the winter — just as any fan of the game has — but he doesn’t intend on addressing the scandal during his first Spring Training meeting with the team.
“To be quite honest, I really don’t think I need to,” Roberts said. “There’s obviously been a lot made of it and to expend energy or try to get more clarity, I don’t think that’s needed, is necessary, or can possibly happen.
“My message to the group is going to be solely on what’s in house and what we have to try to accomplish this season.”
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