Carlos Beltrán, the venerated designated hitter painted by Major League Baseball as a ringleader of Houston’s electronic sign-stealing scheme during the 2017 season, said this week he “wished somebody would’ve said something” and stopped the trashcan banging scheme.
In an interview with YES Network broadcaster Michael Kay, who doubles as the television voice of the New York Yankees, Beltrán said the Astros’ World Series championship has a stain and tried to direct blame to Houston’s front office for a scheme the league deemed “player driven.”
“Nobody said anything to us, you know, nobody said anything,” Beltran said. “I wish somebody would’ve said something. A lot of people always ask me why you didn’t stop it? And my answer is, I didn’t stop it the same way no one stopped it.”
“This is working for us. Why you gonna stop something that is working for you? So, if the organization would’ve said something to us, we would’ve stopped it for sure.”
Beltrán said Astros players never received commissioner Rob Manfred’s edict in mid-2017 that cracked down on electronic sign-stealing and promised harsh punishments for teams that broke rules.
Beltrán was the only player cited by name in Manfred’s report detailing the league’s findings into the Astros’ scheme. He took issue with the distinction in his remarks with Kay, which will be aired in full on Monday at 3 p.m. CT on the YES Network. Excerpts of the interview were released on Sunday morning.
“The part that bothered me about that is that, you know, when I sit down to cooperate with them (MLB), they said to me, “We’re not going against the players. We’re going against …field personnel, front office and organization,’” Beltrán said. “And the fact that I’m the only player named in that report? So how … that happen? Like, that’s the part that I don’t understand. Everyone gets immunity except Carlos Beltrán? I don’t get it.”
On the one hand, it makes sense for Beltrán to put blame on the Astros’ front office for not stepping in to stop the banging scheme. MLB put the blame on the manager and coaches and the front office as well, which is why Jeff Luhnow is an ex-GM. On the other hand, Beltrán was a full-grown adult who certainly should have known that what they were doing was against the rules, and that whether it worked or not it would reflect poorly on them all. You can say it didn’t help much – others have made that claim, but Beltrán is contradicting them – and you can say the Astros would have won the World Series in 2017 regardless – I for one believe that to be true, whatever Yankees GM Brian Cashman may say. But that almost makes it worse. You were the best team on the field, you knew you were the best team on the field, so why put all that energy into something shady? Just go out there and beat ’em.
The main thing I take away from this is that it’s going to be a long time before we’re done with the banging scheme. It’s such a shame, because the 2017 Astros were a great team, and it was a huge boost for the city a couple of months after Hurricane Harvey. We’d all be so much better off if they’d never done this, whatever the effect might have been. Sean Pendergast has more.