TEMPE, Ariz. -- Angels players had plenty to say Wednesday about the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, which hit close to home because the two play in the same division. The Angels have gone 24-52 against Houston dating back to 2016, including a 13-26 record and a combined 5.27 ERA at Minute Maid Park.
Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney was especially angry about the scandal, which ultimately cost Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch their jobs. The Red Sox also fired manager Alex Cora and the Mets dismissed manager Carlos Beltrán for their involvement during their time in Houston as well.
“I am not going to make excuses for those guys,” Heaney said. “I know how it is. You get caught up in something. I’m sure they look back now and say, ‘... we really took that overboard.' But I think that somebody in that locker room had to have enough insight to say this is not OK. Somebody in that locker room had to say, ‘This is [messed] up. We shouldn’t be doing this.’ For nobody to stand up and nobody to say, ‘We’re cheating other players,’ that sucks.”
Angels catcher Max Stassi was one of the players on Houston’s 2017 team, which has been at the center of the scandal for their trash-can banging scheme to alert batters what pitches were coming. Stassi admitted he was part of that illegal scheme but he wasn’t called up until August and hit .167 in 14 games that year.
“When you’re a lower man on the totem pole, you just show up and you go out there and play,” Stassi said. “I apologize to all those around the game, the people who were affected by it, the fans, coaches. Especially the kids who look up to us. We’re supposed to set an example and do the right thing. We didn’t do that.”
But the lack of remorse from prominent Astros players involved in the scandal hasn’t been sitting well with Angels players, who all said they knew something was going on in Houston but didn’t know to what extent.
"It kind of feels like they are playing the victim, which is [not right]," said reliever Noé Ramirez. “I just feel bad for the guys that did get affected by it. You practice your whole life, this is your dream to come here, only to be cheated. It could be your debut or you could just be a young guy, and it's a huge, mental thing playing in the big leagues and that's something you learn. It's unfortunate for a lot of younger players that had to put up with that and pretty much get broken in the wrong way to the big leagues, welcomed to the big leagues in just a really shady way. I feel for them. I hope somehow, some way those players affected get another shot to prove themselves the right way. I'm sure bad karma will come over to Houston."
Heaney said it’s changed his view on Astros players and that they haven’t done enough to apologize for their actions
“That was terrible,” Heaney said. “I understand they are going to go get their stuff in order and they are going to have their thing to say, and they are going to hide behind the Commissioner’s report and whatever, but I don’t think that’s good enough.”