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Friday, April 03, 2020

Evan Gattis says his 2017 Astros ‘cheated baseball and cheated fans’

“ Not mad at people hating us — just mad, like kind of on the fans’ side,” Gattis continued. “Not everybody was super-happy about the cheating. … They were teammates, and maybe they didn’t feel like they were in a position to say anything. And they’re living with it right now. I could have said some [expletive], I could have done something, but I did not. Definitely not.”

majorflaw Posted: April 03, 2020 at 10:11 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Friday, March 27, 2020

Dorktown: The 1979 Astros were a team from baseball’s stone age

They finished up having failed to hit even 50 round-trippers. With the Mets excepted, you can see that every other team’s home run total approached or exceeded double that of the Astros — and even New York still hit over 50% more homers than Houston.

Since all teams started playing 162 games in 1962, no one’s hit fewer than 55 homers in a full season. And in only three of the other 1,465 team-seasons did a squad fail to hit more than 60 homers…

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2020 at 01:15 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Astros request a new judge to hear lawsuit filed by pitcher Mike Bolsinger

Before Mike Bolsinger could ask a court to decide whether the Houston Astros played fair with him, the Astros claimed the judge could not play fair with them.

Bolsinger, a former Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, sued the Astros and owner Jim Crane in Los Angeles County Superior Court last month, arguing the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme resulted in a pitching performance so poor that he has been unable to find another job.

The Astros have not yet filed a response to Bolsinger’s claim. But Harry Mittleman, one of the defense attorneys, this week submitted a declaration saying the Astros did not believe Crane and the Astros could have a “fair and impartial trial” before Malcolm Mackey, the judge assigned to hear the case.

Mackey, 90, was first elected to the Superior Court in 1988.

Makes their comments of the other day sound rather hollow, doesn’t it?

 

QLE Posted: March 27, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, lawsuits, mike bolsinger

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Astros Cite ‘Sincere Apologies’ in Response to Sign-Stealing Lawsuits

Lawyers for the Houston Astros said members of the organization expressed “sincere apologies and remorse” after the sign-stealing scandal.

According to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, this is part of the argument presented to try to dismiss three different lawsuits from season tickets holders against the organization.

The lawyers argued the plaintiffs have no legal standing to recover damages, but first noted how contrite the organization has been:

“The ‘sign-stealing’ controversy has been a source of great disappointment to Astros fans as well as to the Astros organization. On several occasions, members of the Astros organization—including individual players and its Owner, Jim Crane—have expressed their sincere apologies and remorse for the events described in the report by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.”

That’s not how I remember it…..

 

QLE Posted: March 24, 2020 at 12:34 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, lawsuits

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Report: Giles to return WS ring

Relief pitcher Ken Giles is prepared to return his World Series ring from the 2017 season with the Astros, saying he wasn’t aware of the sign-stealing plot while with Houston.

Ron J Posted: March 04, 2020 at 08:37 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cheating, general

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Ringer: How Teams Tried to Counter the Astros’ Sign Stealing Before MLB Did

In late August 2018, the second-place Oakland Athletics visited Houston for a potentially pivotal three-game series against the first-place Astros. The A’s entered the series boasting baseball’s best record over the previous two and a half months (45-19 since June 13), and they trailed the Astros by only 1.5 games in the AL West. The previous week, the two teams had actually spent a few days tied atop the division, although the A’s had never pulled ahead. If Oakland swept this series, the reigning world champions would be looking up at the A’s.

The A’s dropped the first game of the series 11-4, but the next two contests would each be decided by one run. Journeyman Edwin Jackson, pitching for the 13th of his record 14 franchises, took the mound for Oakland in Game 2. He also took his time. The A’s and the Astros wouldn’t face each other again during the regular season, and given their proximity in the standings and the closeness of the score, each pitch was too critical to rush. But there was one other factor extending Jackson’s pauses between pitches: The A’s were aware that the Astros might be stealing their signs. [...]

Of course, it’s possible that the Astros were still stealing signs in late 2018 via some pervasive, hitherto-undocumented method (insert buzzer-based conspiracy here). But by that time, at least some Astros opponents were paranoid enough to act under the assumption that the Astros were cheating, regardless of whether they still were. Jackson and Lucroy weren’t the only battery to slow down against the ’Stros; Angels starter Andrew Heaney, who recently said he hopes the Astros feel like ####, worked with catcher Francisco Arcia in two late-2018 starts in Houston and showed a similar spike in bases-empty time between pitches. [...]

Also of note is that no other team in 2018 had a home pace gap as large as the Astros did: Opposing pitchers slowed down more in Minute Maid than they did at any other park.

bobm Posted: February 29, 2020 at 08:22 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cheating, pace of play

What did Joe Torre know and when did he know it?

Earlier this afternoon a reader named Sean James pointed me to this morning’s Buster Olney podcast at ESPN, where Buster and ESPN’s Karl Ravech were talking about the potential penalties the Red Sox might be facing when MLB’s report on their sign-stealing operation finally comes out. One part in particular stuck out.

At the 10:50 mark, Ravech tells Buster a story about something that happened in the 2018 ALCS between the Sox and the Astros. Buster said afterward that he had not heard this. I do not believe I have heard this. If it has been reported out before, I don’t recall it, but there has been so much flying around over the past couple of months that it might’ve just gotten lost. Anyway, here’s Ravech:

““I don’t know if I told you this, but there was a meeting before the LCS between the Astros and the Red Sox that involved A.J. Hinch, it involved [Jeff] Luhnow, it involved [Dave] Dombrowski, it involved [Alex] Cora, and Joe Torre was in that meeting and Torre basically said to the teams, both of them, to all those people and anyone else who was in the room, ‘Look: if you are inclined, or have gotten away with, or are doing anything that would violate the rules that you are all aware of or should be aware of, um, you’re gonna have to understand, at some point there’s gonna be a player or players or front office person that’s going to leave your team, go to another team, and basically rat you guys out. Basically tell, you know, the dirty secrets.’

“So whether Joe Torre was aware, at that point, what was coming from Mike Fiers, and there’s no evidence to believe that, but I was told that that message and that meeting basically scared the heck out of those guys in that room. To the point where they acknowledged ‘we’re in trouble, we’re dead, so we cannot continue this particular behavior.’””

The sort of thing that makes you wonder if the folk from that poll who suspect an MLB cover-up have a point…..

 

 

QLE Posted: February 29, 2020 at 12:46 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, joe torre, red sox

Friday, February 28, 2020

By 3 to 1 Margin Americans Say Astros Investigation was a Coverup and Players Need to Be Punished

South Orange, NJ – February 27, 2020 — By a sizeable margin, a majority of Americans feel that individual players should have been punished by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred for their role in the sign stealing scandal surrounding the Houston Astros.

Fifty-four percent, responding to a national Seton Hall Sports Poll this week, said yes to punishing players in what was acknowledged as a player-driven scheme.  Only 17 percent felt they should not be punished.  Twenty-nine percent said they don’t know or had no opinion.

This was consistent with public opinion in the first week of this month when 52 percent said the Astros world championship should have been taken away, and 35 percent said it should not.

The Poll was administered this week to 693 adults across the country on landlines and cellphones.  It has a +/- 3.8 percent margin of error.

Something for those among us with a deep interest in polling.

 

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:44 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, opinion, polls

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Fans heckling Astros spring opener get signs stolen

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Fans hoping to heckle the sign-stealing Houston Astros at their spring opener were met with quite the coincidence.

They got their signs stolen.

In the Astros’ first spring training game since their sign-stealing scandal rocked baseball, some fans brought signs jeering Houston, and ballpark personnel confiscated them before the exhibition opener against the World Series champion Washington Nationals on Saturday night.

In a Series rematch, the Nats got hearty cheers, while everyone in an Astros jersey — including the mascot, Orbit — was booed. Houston did not use any players implicated in MLB’s probe.

The sort of story for which drum riffs seem to be the only appropriate comment…..

 

QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 01:05 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, fans, hecklers, sign-stealing

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Astros scandal: Josh Reddick says he and his teammates have received death threats

Part of the ongoing fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal is that some of the players involved say they’re receiving threats. Mike Fiers of the Athletics, who played for the Astros in 2017 and later blew the whistle on their sign-stealing scheme, recently claimed to have been subjected to death threats for serving as the primary source for the original bombshell report.

Now Astros outfielder Josh Reddick has come forward as the recipient of threats and ill wishes. ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweets:

“Astros outfielder Josh Reddick just told reporters he has received death threats via social media — and that in one case someone wished cancer upon his children. Reddick said he’s not the only one in the Astros’ clubhouse who had received death threats, either.”

 

QLE Posted: February 22, 2020 at 12:52 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, josh reddick

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Astros are leaning into the role of villain

You absolutely knew this was going to happen.

After a two-month firestorm in which the extent of their cheating operation was revealed, and after a week of players around the league voicing their displeasure at both the Astros and at Major League Baseball for not punishing them in a manner they deem sufficient, the Astros are pushing back. From the Washington Post, here’s Josh Reddick:

“At some point, you have to move on and not give a s—. We’re going to go out there and win and shut everybody up.”

Something for the fans of professional wresting around here…..

 

QLE Posted: February 20, 2020 at 12:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, villain

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Feinstein: In the Astros scandal, Rob Manfred has taken a bad situation and made it worse (WaPo)

Some will argue that stripping the Astros of their title does little. But they’re wrong, it would have a great deal of meaning. Taking away the trophy means the team can’t display it in perpetuity and forces it to take down all banners that proclaim “World Champions.” Remove the Astros’ name from the record book, leaving a blank for the 2017 World Series winner, as there is for 1994, when the World Series was called off after the owners forced the players to strike by violating the rules of collective bargaining.

Mayor Blomberg Posted: February 18, 2020 at 07:45 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, rob manfred

Whitley’s new strategy: Less work, more weight

One of the scouting reports I’ve read talked about how Whitley had a big spike in velocity in his senior year after getting serious about conditioning and remaking his body. The scout also suggested has backslid on his work. I don’t how accurate the report was but, at the least, it’s worth keeping an eye on Whitley this spring.

“I think just the general thought process that went into that was just not coming into camp absurdly skinny like I had the past couple years,” he said. “I remember a couple years ago I came into camp at like 190, so I kind of wanted to lower the workload, eat a little bit more and focus on coming into camp at a little better weight.”

Two years ago, Whitley was working out six or seven times a week, sometimes twice a day. He said it was way too much. He cut the workout load down to just four times a week — Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday — and didn’t start throwing until December.

“Honestly, it was a lot nicer,” he said. “I got a little bit more time to myself. Played a lot more golf. It really felt like a true offseason to me, which was good for me in terms of the mental break from the season.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 18, 2020 at 08:59 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, forrest whitley

Monday, February 17, 2020

Disciplining Astros not as easy for MLB as Altuve revealing a tattoo

If only there was a strong Commissioner and no MLBPA, the players complaining about no player discipline would get the justice they are craving.

Some of their union leadership need to educate its body a little better on union/contract protections.

Even more crucial would be the aforementioned lack of notice. Four labor lawyers with first-hand knowledge of the grievance process agreed: the lack of notice from the Astros to their players would have made any case pursued by the league practically DOA. Yes, grievance hearings do now and again end with surprising results, but the probability tilted significantly toward any potential suspension being overturned, the lawyers said.

Facing that reality, the league made a value judgment: It would offer the players immunity in hopes of gathering the full story of the Astros’ sign-stealing exploits and rely upon the details of Manfred’s report to bend the public toward the idea that the league had sought and delivered justice.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:11 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mlbpa, sign stealing

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Astros’ Dusty Baker begs MLB to protect players from cheating retaliation

“I’m depending on the league to try to put a stop to this seemingly premeditated retaliation that I’m hearing about,” Baker told reporters Saturday. “And in most instances in life, you get kind of reprimanded when you have premeditated anything. I’m just hoping that the league puts a stop to this before somebody gets hurt.”

Hank Gillette Posted: February 16, 2020 at 05:28 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dusty baker

Against the Astros and their reputation, suspicious Nationals felt they had to assume the worst

“The way that it really erodes integrity of the game is tough,” said Nationals closer Sean Doolittle when discussing what he wanted to see from the Astros in response. “And I don’t know because part of me wonders if you’re the kind of person that’s willing to do that, are you able to step back and see how that affects the integrity of the game? Can you see how it erodes public trust and fan confidence in the product that we have on the field?”

When the Astros advanced to the World Series against Washington, the Nationals began getting tips from around the league. General Manager Mike Rizzo noted Friday that Washington “got a lot of volunteer phone calls on how to beat them and how to play them.”

Hank Gillette Posted: February 16, 2020 at 05:28 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nationals

This was the time for the Astros to own their cheating. Maybe they missed the sign.

On the other side of the park, Kurt Suzuki, a Washington Nationals catcher who gave complex signs in the World Series to foil the Astros’ thievery, wasn’t buying any of it.

“Do you think the Astros were still cheating in the ’19 World Series,” I asked.

“Oh, yeah, no question,” Suzuki said. “We could hear it from their dugout. We heard their whistling. What are you going to do?”

What the Nats did was change their signs on every batter of the Series and sometimes within an at-bat when they sensed that a swing at a tough pitch was “so good” that the Astros’ cheating might have, momentarily, caught up with the Nats’ coding system. The Nats were never sure how well they were succeeding.

Hank Gillette Posted: February 16, 2020 at 05:28 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nationals

Saturday, February 15, 2020

This might be Astros’ best chance to win title for a while

For the Astros, though, the need to win in 2020 should be about more than exoneration or chest thumping. The way their roster and farm system are positioned after the best run of on-field success in organization history, this coming season projects as arguably their last, best shot to win it all in this phase.

The farm system, once able to replenish with high-end talent, was ranked 27th out of 30 organizations by Baseball America.

Hank Gillette Posted: February 15, 2020 at 04:54 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cheating

Rosenthal: Carlos Correa rips Bellinger, passionately defends Altuve and says the Astros deserve their 2017 title – The Athletic

I don’t agree with everything Carlos Correa says in the interview but he’s handling the situation better than anyone else.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2020 at 02:25 PM | 78 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos correa, sign stealing

Rizzo won’t be satisfied until Astros admit they “cheated” - Nationals Pastime

To that list, you can add Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who today spoke as emphatically as anyone about his dissatisfaction, not only with what the Astros did but how they’ve addressed it since getting caught.

“Someone has got to say the word over there: ‘Cheated.’ That’s important to me,” Rizzo said. “And for the sport to move on, which is what I’m most concerned about, we have to make sure that all the I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed on this investigation before we end it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2020 at 08:01 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, nationals, sign stealing

Trevor Bauer was asked about the Astros. He didn’t hold back on his answer – The Athletic

There is a lot of smoke about the Astros not being alone in the way they stole signs. Where are all the other whistleblowers? If it’s true the problem indeed existed outside the Astros clubhouse, MLB needs to extend their investigation and not sweep the wider problem under the rug. If it’s not true, the Astros will fairly have to continue to eat the entire problem. I won’t hold my breath.

I don’t try … I don’t bother, I don’t go out of my way to bother anybody. I try not to interfere or interject myself into anyone else’s affairs, but if you come at me, I feel like I have every right to defend myself. Now they’ve chosen to make it about me and attack my character, 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 was completely unfair. They’ve negatively affected the fans, they’ve negatively affected players, they’ve negatively affected kids and the future of baseball – which is what I’m most upset about. Now all the things they do really well as an organization are going to get completely washed away and forgotten about so the next generation of kids gets set back five or 10 years on the analytics, training and health and all the different stuff they do really well.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 15, 2020 at 07:28 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign stealing, trevor bauer

Cody Bellinger Destroys Everything Astros and Weak Punishment

Some home truths here.  I guess Cody is not in a union solidarity frame of mind.

Captain Supporter Posted: February 15, 2020 at 07:04 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, stealing signs

Baker on Greinke being late: ‘He’s Zack Greinke’

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—Astros manager Dusty Baker said veteran pitcher Zack Greinke won’t report to camp until Feb. 22—more than a week after the pitchers and catchers report date. Baker said Greinke is healthy and working out on his own but didn’t offer up a reason for the tardiness.

“Other than he’s Zack Greinke,” Baker said. “I’ve got no problem with that.”

Greinke, traded to the Astros from the D-backs in July, is coming off a vintage 2019 campaign in which he went 18-5 with a 2.93 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP, winning eight of his 10 starts after arriving to Houston. Greinke carried a shutout into the seventh inning in Game 7 of the World Series before the Nationals rallied to win the title.

Greinke has also famously taken his time building up his velocity, generating headlines in February and March with mid-80s readings on the radar guns before going on to submit typically excellent regular-season performances. So, in some respects, he’s likely earned the right to start the year at his own pace.

And we, apparently, are not.

 

QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 12:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dusty baker, zack greinke

Friday, February 14, 2020

Drellich: Blame is a tangled mess in Astros sign-stealing scandal – The Athletic

Good stuff by Evan Drellich.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 14, 2020 at 08:57 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign stealing

‘Slow Burn’ Creators to Produce Houston Astros Cheating Scandal Podcast, TV Series (Exclusive)

The Houston Astros cheating scandal is getting the podcast and television treatment.

Podcast company Cadence13 is kicking off a new sports documentary podcast franchise with a season that will explore the Astros’ World Series-winning 2017 season. Major League Baseball fined the team in January after a report uncovered that players used technology to communicate signs stolen from opposing teams.

To tell the Astros’ story, Cadence13 has teamed with Sports Illustrated writer Ben Reiter, who will write and host the project, and Slow Burn co-creators Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons, who will produce via Neyfakh’s Prologue Projects shingle. Cadence13 content chief Chris Corcoran and Underground Entertainment partner Steven Fisher will executive produce.

A TV series based on the podcast also is in development with Left/Right Productions, the producer of Epix’s Slow Burn adaptation as well as Showtime’s The Circus and FX’s The Weekly. Reiter, Prologue Projects and Underground also are attached to the adaptation.

We’ve discussed most of the obvious angles with this scandal- why not toss show business into the mix?

 

QLE Posted: February 14, 2020 at 12:41 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, broadcasting, dirty rotten cheaters

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