AP Photo

AP source: Indians complain to MLB about Astros filming

5 Comments

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Houston Astros may be defending more than their World Series title.

The champions are under scrutiny after Cleveland filed a complaint to Major League Baseball about a man associated with Houston attempting to film in the Indians’ dugout during Game 3 of the AL Division Series last week.

During the Astros’ series-clinching win on Oct. 8 at Progressive Field in Cleveland, a man with a cellphone standing by the photographer’s pit was removed “several times” by security personnel, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday night. The man’s credential was requested by Houston, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

MLB also says it is aware of a report by Metro Boston that a man claiming to be an Astros employee was removed from a credentialed area near the Boston Red Sox dugout during the AL Championship Series opener at Fenway Park. The Red Sox dropped the series opener but have won the past two to take a 2-1 lead.

In a statement, MLB said the matter “will be handled internally” and offered no other details.

While it’s yet to be proven if the Astros were doing anything illegal, the two incidents have raised further questions about the use of electronic equipment during games and whether Houston has been cheating.

According to the Metro report, which cited multiple security sources who were on the scene, a man was removed during the third inning of Game 1 on Saturday night at Fenway Park but allowed to stay in the ballpark after another Astros staffer intervened. The report said the man had a small camera and was texting frequently, but did not have a media credential.

Houston manager AJ Hinch and Red Sox manager Alex Cora both said after Boston’s 8-2 win Tuesday night in Houston they had heard about the alleged incident.

“I’m aware of something going on, but I haven’t been briefed,” Hinch said. “I’m worried about the game.”

Cora said he has been concerned throughout the season about Red Sox signs being stolen.

“So I mean we do a good job changing sequences and paying attention to details. And we don’t get caught up on the whole paranoia thing of the signs,” he said. “We try to slow it down. If we feel there’s something going on we switch the signs.”

When asked if he felt like anything was going on the first two ALCS games at Fenway Park, Cora responded, “No, I don’t.”

This isn’t the first time the Astros have been suspected of cheating.

Earlier this season, Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer intimated on Twitter that Houston’s pitchers may have been using banned substances to improve the spin on their pitches. Bauer didn’t provide any specifics but his insinuations triggered a social-media storm, which included responses from several Astros players, including pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. and Collin McHugh.

The Indians were swept by the Astros, who after winning twice at home, rolled to an 11-3 win in Game 3. Cleveland was eliminated in the first round for the second year in a row as the AL Central champions batted just .144 as a team and some of the club’s top hitters, including All-Star second baseman Jose Ramirez, had brutal series. Ramirez went hitless in 11 at-bats.

Following the game, center fielder Jason Kipnis was critical of his team’s performance and said he felt the Indians were overmatched.

“We were just outplayed,” Kipnis said. “I wish it weren’t that simple. It just seems from top to bottom we were out-scouted, out-pitched, out-coached a little bit. They really did just a fantastic job over there of being ready and prepared before the series. I don’t think we were underprepared, they just went out and executed and played the way you need to play to win.”

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/tag/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Former trainers also allege discrimination by Mariners

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
7 Comments

Dr. Lorena Martin was recently terminated as the Mariners’ director of high performance. Following her ouster, she alleged that members of the Mariners’ front office and coaching staff, including GM Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais, and director of player development Andy McKay, made bigoted comments against foreign-born players. While the Mariners strongly denied Martin’s accusations, MLB opened an investigation into the matter.

TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that former trainers of the Mariners, based out of the club’s complex in Boca Chica (Domonican Republic), claim the club’s treatment of Latino personnel changed once Dipoto took over as GM. Those trainers, Leonardo Santiago and Jose Valdez, did not speak specifically to Martin’s claims, but did say their experiences with Dipoto and McKay could relate with hers.

Through an interpreter over the phone, Santiago said, “It seemed like Dipoto and McKay would talk to just about everyone who was of American descent and talk to them more personally and try to be involved with them. But never with me.” When asked if it was because he was Latino, Santiago responded, “Under God and before you and in my mind and in my heart — yes. Because I am a Latino of color.”

Santiago continued, “I felt like, ‘Wow.’ They have relationships with all the Americans. They would talk with all of them, but they never came near me. Andy McKay never stopped by, even though he would stop by every other area.”

Furthermore, Santiago commented, “Before Dipoto and McKay came, everything was in order. I didn’t feel discriminated against. Everybody respected everybody from different areas. But when they came, everything changed. In the past,  the previous regimes, the general manager would come and talk with us. They would visit more often, specifically the farm director. Andy McKay never came by my office. He never said anything to me. He never looked for a way to see how I worked, to see if I was good or bad at what I did. He never found a way to talk to me, but he would talk with everybody that was American.”

Per Cotterill, the Mariners apparently found it problematic that neither Santiago nor Valdez were certified. Santiago wondered why his lack of certification was never an issue for the previous 10 years he worked for the Mariners or the previous 15 he’d worked in baseball. The Mariners were paying for his training for certification in physical therapy. He has one year remaining. Valdez also said the club was paying for him to obtain his certification.

Valdez said through an interpreter, “It felt like the relations between the American employees and Latino employees within the club, it felt like they were different. Almost like one was superior to the other.” Though Valdez declined to name specific examples, he said, “It was just [McKay’s] demeanor. He would arrive, see us and not acknowledge us. He wouldn’t want to talk or be with us. He would arrive to the staff meeting and that was it. I never exchanged words with either [McKay or Dipoto].”

To date, neither Martin nor the trainers have provided concrete evidence of the discrimination they claimed happened while working for the Mariners. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen and it doesn’t mean the Mariners can’t face some kind of punishment by MLB. You may recall that MLB does not need a convinction in order to levy a punishment against players accused of domestic violence. Martin, in particular, risked a lot for what will likely amount to very little. She has burnt to a crisp her bridge with the Mariners and other organizations, even outside of baseball, will likely view her as a risky hire. She appears to be doing what she thinks is right by her and her former coworkers, which is commendable. Even for Santiago and Valdez, it would be a lot simpler and safer career-wise to stay quiet, which is why we should take these accusations seriously and give them the benefit of the doubt.