Astros players strongly deny they used buzzers to cheat in 2019

One of the lingering threads in the Houston Astros cheating scandal that Internet conspiracy theorists have globbed onto is the belief that the Astros used wearable buzzers during the 2019 season to signal what pitches were coming.

The theory represents a big step up from the trash-can banging an MLB investigation proved the team used in 2017. While Astros players were apologizing Thursday for what happened in 2017, many also issued steadfast denials about wearing buzzers in 2019.

Carlos Correa, for instance, offered this flat denial of the buzzer allegations, saying: “Nobody wore buzzers. Nobody wore devices. That story should be killed already. We know for sure, for a fact, 100 percent, as a team ... If I'm lying here I'll lose credibility ... It's straight-up false. Nobody wore anything. In 2018, nothing. 2019, nothing. 2017, nobody wore devices either.”

George Springer said “absolutely not” when asked if the team used buzzers. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander said he sees his teammates undress and can attest there were no buzzers used.

“Absolutely not,” Verlander told reporters, including Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser. “I’m in that locker room, I see these guys after the game, before the game, dressing and undressing. And I never saw anything like that.”

Jose Altuve, interestingly enough, did what many Astros people before him did — he leaned on MLB’s investigation to say that the league found no evidence of buzzers. Ex-manager A.J. Hinch did the same thing in an MLB Network interview last week and then had to release a statement Wednesday saying he wasn’t aware of buzzers.

Altuve told reporters: “MLB did their investigation and they didn’t find anything. They found what they found in 2017, a really good investigation obviously. They did an investigation on the buzzer and didn’t find anything. When you say you don’t believe that I didn’t have a buzzer, you don’t believe what MLB investigated.”

Altuve is at the center of this part of the controversy. He hit a walk-off homer off Aroldis Chapman in the ALCS against the New York Yankees that sent the Astros to the World Series last year. In a now-widely circulated — and theorized-about — video, Altuve tells his teammates not to rip off his jersey as he touched home plate. Many fans believe he was concealing a buzzer under his uniform. Altuve then went to the clubhouse to change his clothes before returning to the field to celebrate with his team.

Even opposing players aren’t buying Altuve’s explanation that he was too embarrassed to have his jersey ripped off. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez said earlier this week that if he hit a home run to send his team to the World Series, his teammates could rip off his jersey — and his pants.

Will these denials from Astros stars satisfy the social-media conspiracy theorists? Probably not, but it’s the strongest on-the-record denial we’ve gotten thus far. Fans, of course, will make up their own minds.

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