As players have reported for the start of Spring Training over the past week, a day has not passed without some sort of commentary or criticism of the Houston Astros and Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred.
Amongst the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cody Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner and Alex Wood are a few who have voiced their displeasure. Disappointment and frustration ranges from the actual act of the Astros stealing signs en route to winning the 2017 World Series, and their and Manfred’s responses.
After initially attempting to do damage control, Turner was more candid this week because of Manfred taking a dismissive tone and view of the World Series trophy. Meanwhile, Bellinger’s allegations lobbied toward the Astros and Jose Altuve led to a sharp response from Carlos Correa.
Hesitant to fully immerse himself into the conversation but mindful of the ramifications players such as Mike Bolsinger have suffered, Max Muncy shared he believes the only regret the Astros hold is being discovered to have cheated, via Pedro Moura of The Athletic:
“They don’t care. They just care that they got caught. They don’t care about anything else. Just look at how they’ve been reacting to everything. They don’t care. It’s hard to put it like that. Because they’re obviously gonna care on some level. But they’re not sorry they cheated, they’re sorry they got caught.
“I mean, they’re still reaping the benefits from it. They got the ring. They got the playoff bonus. They got all this other stuff, endorsements, everything. They got all that. So why would they really care? They just care that they got caught.”
And while Muncy understands Correa coming to the defense of his teammate(s), his preference is for the Astros to no longer discuss the matter:
“Honestly, I don’t know if I want to hear anything else from them. I think that’s my problem. They’re trying to say stuff, and it’s making people angrier. If they would’ve just kept their mouths shut, it would’ve died down a little bit. But they keep opening their mouths, and they keep digging their hole deeper, and that was my honest belief of what Correa did.
“I don’t fault him at all for standing up for his teammates, for standing up for his guys. I don’t care that he did that. I actually think that’s awesome that he did that. But the way he did it, trying to play the victim card and everything, he’s just digging that hole deeper.”
Kershaw noted it’s positive that Mike Trout and other star players have felt comfortable to express their opinions on the topic, but he also reiterated there should be a focus on moving ahead with the 2020 season.
That may become easier once Spring Training games begin this weekend. Of course, it could just as well continue to fuel the discussion if players seek retribution by intentionally throwing at Astros batters.
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