As the dust settles on the Houston Astros cheating scandal that has engulfed the MLB offseason, one of the Astros’ most prominent opponents is speaking out on the team’s tainted World Series title.
Retired New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia made an appearance on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” and had some interesting things to say about the Astros.
"As everything’s been coming out, and the more facts that we get, it’s getting frustrating ... to sit here and know that late in my career I could’ve had a title, maybe (in 2017) or maybe ’18, but we got cheated out (by) a team kind of doing something that’s not within the rules of the game.”
The Yankees lost to the Astros in both the 2017 and 2019 ALCS. They also lost to the Boston Red Sox in the 2018 ALDS, the year the Red Sox reportedly used their replay room in an illegal manner to steal signs.
After an investigation into the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred fined the team $5 million, stripped it of four draft picks and suspended Houston manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for a year. Hinch and Luhnow were fired soon after, as was Boston manager Alex Cora, who was Houston’s bench coach in 2017 and is facing an MLB investigation of his own.
Sabathia suggested that the punishment for the Astros could have gone even further: stripping the team of the title it won:
“Maybe, yeah. I mean, why not?'' Sabathia said. "Vacate it. I wouldn’t be mad at that.”
Such a sentiment carries even more intrigue given that Sabathia has an official front office role with the Yankees. Sabathia retired after the 2019 season, with his last MLB appearance coming against the Astros in the ALCS.
In his report, Manfred determined that the Astros continued to use their illegal sign-stealing system into the 2017 postseason, where they topped the Los Angeles Dodgers to win their first World Series in franchise history.
Vacating a title is unprecedented in modern North American professional sports, but it’s not hard to understand why some observers think such punishment would be warranted. The only question is how many other MLB players agree with Sabathia.
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