Yankees: Aaron Judge, Hicks, others torch Astros over cheating

William Parlee
New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks
Mar 15, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) looks on from the dugout at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With spring training in full force after the position players reported on Monday, many players from several baseball clubs, including the New York Yankees, are now letting their feelings be known about how they view the Astros sign-stealing scheme during the 2017 season and beyond.

Some are tempered, feeling disappointed, and some just plain angry, stating they feel that the Astros should have been stripped of their World Championship.  Many thought that after Commissioner Manfred issued his report detailing the cheating and issuing punishments for the Astros that included fines, management suspensions and loss of draft picks, that anger over the scheme would subside; the opposite has happened.

Yesterday Aaron Hicks was interviewed at the Yankee’s spring training complex at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.  Yankee fans will be glad to know that he said:  “I feel great,” referring to his recovery from Tommy John surgery.  Hicks is expected to miss at least two months at the start of the season while he finishes his rehab.  Hicks played against the Astros in both the 2017 and 2019 postseason.  When asked about the cheating, he said:

“It’s just kind of disappointing,” Hicks said. “You feel like you’re on even playing grounds and you lose a heartbreaker in Game 7 and we try to do everything we can do to win ballgames and find out they’ve been cheating. It’s kind of one of those things where it just doesn’t sit well. “The whole point of getting to the big leagues is to compete against the best on an even playing field. Whatever team is better is how it’s supposed to be. But to cheat to win — it’s kind of one of those things where I just don’t understand it.”

Many other Yankees have let their feelings out.  CC Sabathia didn’t hold back in an expletive-laced rant saying that he felt cheated of possibly being able to win another World Series ring before he retired after the end of this past season.

Giancarlo Stanton viewed the cheating scandal as disappointing.  Even though the MLB could not verify that the Astros also cheated past the 2017 season, many players believe they continued, possibly by different means, but it did continue.  Stanton said I believe they continued to cheat right up to the 2019 ALCS.  Stanton also said he believes that the2017 World Series title should be vacated.

He like another Yankee player, shortstop Gleyber Torres rationalize that if you win by cheating and you don’t get caught, you are going to continue to do so.  They both also suggest that the players should be punished as well.

In what was more like a press conference than an interview, Yankee star Aaron Judge said: “The Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title: “It doesn’t hold any value, it wasn’t earned”  In a very Jeter-like interview, Judged remained calm and professional.  However, his contempt for the Astros scheme was evident with every word he spoke.  Judge, like many players, feels that the Astros have not adequately apologized, many saying that they are only sorry that they got caught.   In explaining his disgust over the matter, Judge said:

“When I heard that, I was just sick to my stomach,’’ Judge said. “Once it came out, I was pretty mad. I was pretty upset to know that we were probably cheated out of a possibility of making it to the World Series.”

Aaron Hicks spoke to the league’s lack of suspensions for individual players and the decision not to do so.  “Of course, with the Players Association, we want the best protection possible,”  Hicks said, “But I feel like that goes against our code and what we want to do, as far as, ‘This is how we make a living.’ And to be able to cheat kind of goes against why we’re here in the first place. We’re here to compete against the best of all teams.   Commissioner Manfred defended his decision not to punish players, saying that what they would face around the league this year would be punishment enough.  Astros owner Jim Crane stated that you don’t punish players for the lack of leadership at the top. 

Concluding his interview, Hicks added:

to find out a guy’s cheating to get ahead, to ultimately win the World Series, just leaves a lot of uncertainty about we could’ve been that team win the World Series. I definitely feel like our team was strong enough to do that because, obviously, we played against them, went all the way to Game 7 — playing against them not knowing they’ve been cheating the whole time.”

One thing is sure, Manfred will stick with his decision not only to not punish players but not to strip the Astros of their 2017 Championship.  Manfred may have made it even worse for the Astros as most in baseball believe they were not punished enough and are not remorseful enough, making their year even more difficult as they travel and play in the nation’s ballparks.  The Astros will always be known as the team that stole a World Series and was allowed to get away with it.  Many in baseball are calling for the resignation of Rob Manfred as baseball commissioner.