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Baseball players’ reactions to Astros sign-stealing scandal

Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis does not mince words when discussing the Astros' signal-stealing scandal. (Video courtesy of Channel 2 Action News)

Major League Baseball’s investigation found that Houston used a video feed to view and decode opposing catchers’ signs during games, dating back to the 2017 season. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters which pitches were coming.

The team was penalized with a $5 million fine — the maximum allowed under league rules — and a loss of draft picks. The team general manager and manager were suspended and then fired, but no player was penalized. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Sunday that in-game retaliation would not be tolerated.

The reaction to the punishments and apologies from players across the league has not been positive. Here is a small sampling:

Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis:

“It angers you, especially from a guy who has played the game the right way his whole career. No shortcuts. I know how hard this game is, I know how hard preparing for this game is. To see something like that is damaging to baseball. It’s anger. I feel every single guy over there (Houston) needs a beating. It’s wrong.”

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout: 

“It’s sad for baseball. It’s tough. They cheated. I don’t agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys’ careers have been affected. A lot of people lost jobs. It was tough. Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming? It would be fun up there. A lot of guys lost respect for some of the guys.” 

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer: 

“I’m not going to let them forget the fact that they are hypocrites, they are cheaters, they’ve stolen from a lot of other people and the game itself. ... We’re all pissed.” 

Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant: 

“I’m pretty sure it was going in in 2018 and 2019, too. If they didn’t get caught, they’d still be doing it. And they’re only doing this apology because they got caught. Everyone around the league is upset and rightfully so, because it’s really a disgrace to the game.”

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner: 

“Now anyone who goes forward and cheats to win a World Series, they can live with themselves knowing that, ‘Oh, it’s OK ... We’ll cheat in the World Series and bring the title back to LA. Screw (Dodgers manager) Dave Roberts and screw (general manager) Andrew (Friedman). It’s just those guys losing their jobs. I still get to be called a champion the rest of my life.’ So the precedent was set by [Manfred] in this case.”

Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney: 

“I understand they are going to go get their [expletive] in order and they are going to have their thing to say, and they are going to hide behind the commissioner’s report and whatever, but I don’t think that’s good enough.”

Philadelphia Phillies reliever David Robertson: 

“I’m never going to get 2017 back. I can’t say moving forward I’ll never get to pitch in a LCS again, but I’ll never get that season back with that group of guys and that opportunity to win a World Series. ... I’m still upset about it. I don’t want to say something I’m going to regret but I’m not happy about it.” 

Washington Nationals starter Patrick Corbin: 

“I think everybody knows what they did is wrong and there’s a lot of frustrated people.” 

Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling 

“One of the worst things that could happen is that we get through spring and it’s just forgotten about, or that you get pegged for the first two games and it’s just forgotten about. It needs to be reiterated.”

Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish: 

“In the Olympics, if players cheat they can’t have a gold medal. But they still have a World Series title.” 

Reds pitcher Alex Wood: 

“Somebody will take it into their own hands, and they’ll get suspended more games than any of those guys got for the biggest cheating scandal in 100 years. It’ll be pretty ironic when that happens, because I’m sure that’s how it’ll end up playing out.”