'They need a beating': Player anger grows over Astros cheating scandal

Guardian sport
The Guardian
<span>Photograph: Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports</span>
Photograph: Dale Zanine/USA Today Sports

The wave of anger against the Houston Astros over their cheating scandal shows no signs of receding as the new Major League Baseball season approaches. Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis is the latest player to vent his feelings as teams gather for spring training.

“It’s anger,” Markakis told reporters. “I feel like every single guy over there needs a beating. It’s wrong. They’re messing with people’s careers.”

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MLB suspended Houston’s manager and general manager after an investigation concluded the club had used cameras to steal signs from opposing teams, allowing their batters to tell which pitches to expect. The club were also fined $5m and stripped of draft picks but no Astros players will be punished.

Markakis, a 14-year veteran, believes the Astros players got away “scot free”, and also criticised the MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, who conducted the investigation. “The way he handled the situation, he should be embarrassed of himself,” Markakis said.

Markakis did not expand on what a “beating” would involve but Astros manager Dusty Baker has already expressed concern for the safety of his players. “I’m depending on the league to try to put a stop to this seemingly premeditated retaliation that I’m hearing about,” Baker said on Saturday. “And in most instances in life, you get kind of reprimanded when you have premeditated anything. I’m just hoping that the league puts a stop to this before somebody gets hurt.”

A host of players have said they are angry over the Astros’ actions, and MLB’s response. Houston were stealing signs during the 2017 season, when they won the World Series. The best player in baseball, the Los Angeles AngelsMike Trout, added his displeasure on Monday. “It’s sad for baseball,” Trout said. “It’s tough. They cheated. I don’t agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys’ careers have been affected. A lot of people lost jobs. It was tough. Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming? It would be fun up there. A lot of guys lost respect for some of the guys.”

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