From the moment Major League Baseball confirmed the 2017 Houston Astros team had cheated on the way to winning the World Series, fans have wondered what members of that team would say about their actions. Were they remorseful, or defiant? Would they claim ignorance, or say that it wasn’t that big of a deal?
The Astros held a news conference Thursday morning at their spring training home in West Palm Beach, Fla. The owner Jim Crane, the new manager Dusty Baker, and players Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman were besieged with questions about the scandal.
“Our opinion is this didn’t impact the game,” said Crane. “We had a good team. We won the World Series, we’ll leave it there.” A minute later, when asked if he really believed the scheme didn’t have an effect, Crane contradicted himself: “I didn’t say it didn’t impact the game.”
“We’re apologizing because we broke the rules,” he said.
The locker room was open after the news conference, and all players — about a dozen remain from the 2017 team — answered questions. No player said they believed the scheme affected the results of the 2017 postseason, or that the team’s World Series trophy should be taken away.
The scheme — in which Astros players used a video feed to decode pitching signs from opposing catchers, then communicated them to their teammates with methods that included banging a trash can — resulted in the suspensions and subsequent firings of Jeff Luhnow, the Astros’ general manager, and A.J. Hinch, the manager.
Players on that 2017 team, however, were granted immunity from punishment by M.L.B. in exchange for cooperating with the investigation. With no formal punishments, it is up to them to decide how to address their roles with the public.
Here is a look at the public comments that have been made so far by players, coaches and officials from the 2017 Astros.
Jim Crane, owner
“No, I don’t think I should be held accountable. I’m here to correct it and take this team forward with Dusty [Baker] and James [Click, the Astros’ new general manager]. As I said, it won’t happen again on my watch.”
CARLOS CORREA, SHORTSTOP
“We were wrong for everything we did in 2017. It’s not what we stand for. It’s not what we want to portray as an organization, and we were definitely wrong about all that and we feel really sorry. We affected careers, we affected the game in some way, and looking back at it, it was just bad.”
Alex Bregman, third baseman
On whether he was embarrassed: “Yes. I’ve learned from this and I hope to regain their trust. This team is going to work extremely hard to do that, on and off the field.”
Jose Altuve, second baseman
Asked if he feels remorse: “Yeah, kind of. That’s why we feel bad. I’m not going to say to you that it was good — it was wrong. We feel bad, we feel remorse, like I said, the impact on the fans, the impact on the game — we feel bad.”
Justin Verlander, Pitcher
“I wish I had said more. Looking back, I can’t go back, I can’t reverse my decision. I wish I had said more, and I didn’t, and for that I am sorry.” He added: “I don’t want to get into too many specifics. I think we are here today to apologize as a team.”
George Springer, Right fielder
“We regret everything. The amount of remorse is very apparent.” He added, when asked why he didn’t do something while the scheme was happening: “I wish I had done more.”
Yuli Gurriel, first baseman
“No one put a gun to our head. It would be a lie to say that one or two people are responsible. We are all responsible.”
Lance McCullers, Jr., Pitcher
“We have regret and that’s why we’re speaking to you guys. But especially during the postseason, you have guys going into the sixth, seventh inning throwing perfect games against us. It wasn’t something that was impactful during those times, and I truly believe that.”
Josh Reddick, right fielder
On whether the Astros should apologize to the Dodgers or Yankees: “We don’t feel the need to have to reach out to those guys, or anybody for that matter. It is what it is. We’ve got to ask for forgiveness again and just keeping saying how bad we feel, because this team does feel very sorry and very bad for what has happened, and that we didn’t take more of a role in preventing it.”
Alex Cora, former bench coach
“I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward. My two years as manager were the best years of my life.”
Will Harris, former pitcher