Astros owner on sign-stealing: ‘Our opinion is this didn’t impact the game’


After dodging the media yesterday, the Houston Astros scheduled a press conference this morning. The apparent purpose for such a press conference would be to offer some semblance of remorse for their role in the sign-stealing scandal and to at least attempt to bring the matter to a close.

If that was the intention, however, they failed miserably.

The tone was set by Astros owner Jim Crane, who began by saying that “Our opinion is this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series and we’ll leave it at that.”

If you asked 1,000 professional baseball players whether knowing what pitch was coming would “impact the game” I predict that 1,000 of them would say “yes.” And I’ll leave that at that.

Crane added that he did not believe that the players were to blame, saying “these are a great group of guys who did not receive proper guidance from our leaders.” Which is contrary to what Major League Baseball’s report on the matter concluded. MLB said it was, apart from Alex Cora, a “player-led” scheme and suspended leaders A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow more as an example given Rob Manfred’s previous statements about how he’d smack down the GM and manager if he found out about sign-stealing. He didn’t punish the players — he grave them immunity — but he did not absolve them. Indeed, he pretty squarely blamed everything on them.

But Crane said it’s about the leaders. Which team leaders? It must be Hinch and Luhnow, because it wasn’t him. Indeed, he specifically said “I don’t think I should be held accountable.” The buck has already stopped, it seems. Way below Jim Crane’s office.

Two players spoke as well, José Altuve and Alex Bregman. Bregman:

“I am really sorry about the choices that were made by my team, by the organization and by me. I’ve learned from this, and I hope to regain the trust of baseball fans. I would also like to thank the Astros fans for all of their support. We as a team are totally focused on moving forward to the 2020 season.”


“The whole Astros organization and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017. The team is determined to move forward, to play with intensity and to bring back a championship to Houston in 2020.”

New Astros manager Dusty Baker was also on hand and spoke, though it’s unclear why one of the few people in the organization who had absolutely no role in the sign-stealing whatsoever was forced to answer for it.

The Astros had months to prepare for this press conference. It resulted in a statement of defiance by the team’s owner and two less-than-one-minute statements by two players that were quite clearly crafted by PR professionals and implored people to look forward rather than back.

Maybe that’s all they will say about this, but if the Houston Astros thinks this will stop anyone else from continuing to talk about it they’re sadly mistaken.


UPDATE: Carlos Correa comes with way, way more candor:

UPDATE: And now Altuve again, this time informally. He makes a much, much better statement here, probably because he was contradicting Jim Crane and the P.R. department’s strategy from the earlier, orchestrated event. It’s amazing what happens when someone just talks like a human being rather than attempts to deliver some formal statement:


Alvarez’s bases-clearing double sends Astros past White Sox

Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON – Yordan Alvarez hit a go-ahead three-run double in the seventh inning, and the Houston Astros rallied past the Chicago White Sox 6-3 on Friday night for their first win of the season.

Kyle Tucker hit a two-run homer in the sixth and made a spectacular catch at the wall in the seventh to rob Andrew Benintendi of extra bases and keep the World Series champion Astros within one run.

Eloy Jimenez hit two RBI doubles for the White Sox, both off Astros starter Cristian Javier.

Jimenez’s first double scored Tim Anderson in the first inning. In the sixth, Javier gave up three straight doubles to Benintendi, Jimenez and Joan Moncada to make it 3-0 and end his night.

White Sox reliever Kendall Graveman (0-1) loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh on two walks and a single. Jake Diekman came on and gave up Alvarez’s double to deep left-center, a drive that just eluded Luis Robert Jr. and bounced off the wall, clearing the bases.

Four Astros relievers each worked one scoreless inning. Seth Martinez (1-0) got the win and Rafael Montero handled the ninth for his first save.

Chicago starter Lance Lynn allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings.


White Sox INF Andrew Vaughn, who hit a go-ahead two-run double in Thursday’s season-opening win, did not play. Vaughn experienced lower back issues during spring training. Gavin Sheets started at first base.


Astros outfielder Corey Yulks, a Houston-area native, singled in his first at-bat and finished 1-for-4 in his major league debut.


Astros owner Jim Crane and his wife, Whitney, presented the team and staff with their 2022 World Series rings in a pregame ceremony.


Astros: LHP Blake Taylor, who is on the 15-day injured list with a left elbow strain, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sugar Land.


The four-game season-opening series continues Saturday when Houston’s Jose Urquidy faces Chicago’s Lucas Giolito.