Nick Markakis is the most stoic Brave, a man who has spent the past five seasons in Atlanta noiselessly working the outfield. He plays the long game of baseball, grinding out every day without really talking much about it.
But, then, Tuesday, before the team’s first full-squad workout of spring, Markakis gave his longest, most impassioned response to a question that anyone could recall when asked about the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.
Following is the transcript of that answer. As he spoke, his lips appeared to quiver ever so slightly, underscoring the emotion he felt:
“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.
“They’re messing with people’s careers. I know we’re all competitive and we out there competing, but there are right ways to do it and wrong ways to do it. I 100% disagree with the way they did it. There are a lot of people that were hurt by it. It was wrong.
“I think the punishing, I think everything has been handled the wrong way. You got two guys sitting at home that you can kind of give them a little bit of leeway, they’re not in the game right now (presumably fired Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow). Then you got players who did it are scot-free. I know there is a lot of political stuff behind it, but it’s wrong. We don’t want to see that. Everybody’s out there competing and trying to do things the right way.
“And you got guys like that, it’s pretty sad. Those guys have a lot of talent over there, but to take it to that level is wrong. I know as players we do not agree with what they did, we don’t stand behind them and never will we support them for their actions. I think they got off pretty easy. They’re going to be able to go out there and compete with no ramifications at all, which is wrong. I think the commissioner completely handled it the wrong way — but that’s the way he did it. And that’s the way we’ve got to live with it. But I know a lot of people disagree with him and the way he handled the situation he should be embarrassed with himself.
“What they did was [expletive]. They took a lot of opportunities away from people and possibly ruined people’s careers. Like I said, we’re all competitive. We want to compete and win. But when you take it to that level there is no excuse. Like I said, [expletive]. They should have some ramifications for what they did.”
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