LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Dodger first baseman Cody Bellinger did not hold back Friday in his criticism of the Houston Astros and Major League Baseball over the sign-stealing scandal which has cast a major cloud over the baseball world.
Speaking Friday morning from spring training in Glendale, Ariz., the 24-year-old reining National League MVP told reporters that he and the rest of MLB “lost respect” for the Astros organization when they learned last month that the team had engaged in a complicated scheme to steal signs using camera technology in 2017 and 2018.
The Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series to the Astros over a grueling seven-game series.
“Everybody knows they stole the ring from us,” Bellinger said bluntly.
The Dodgers also lost the 2018 World Series to the Boston Red Sox, who were managed by Alex Cora. The MLB investigation found that Cora was heavily involved in the sign-stealing scheme while a bench coach in 2017 with the Astros. He has since resigned from the Red Sox.
Bellinger didn’t buy Thursday’s statement from Astros owner Jim Crane that the cheating scandal didn’t play a role in the team’s title run.
“Our opinion is that this didn’t impact the game,” Crane claimed Thursday. “We had a good team. We won the World Series. And we’ll leave it at that.”
“The apologies were whatever,” Bellinger said in response. “I thought Jim Crane’s was weak.”
Bellinger also criticized MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred for not disciplining the Astros players. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended for one season by MLB and subsequently fired. The team was also docked its first and second round picks in both 2020 and 2021 and ordered to pay a $5 million fine. None of the players were punished, however.
“I thought Manfred’s punishment was weak, giving them immunity,” Bellinger said. “I mean, these guys were cheating for three years.”
Bellinger threw shade at Astros second-baseman José Altuve, who won the American League MVP in 2017, saying the award should have gone to New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge.
“What people don’t realize is that Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in ’17,” Bellinger said.
The MLB investigation began in November, when former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers, who was on that championship team, told The Athletic that the team used a center-field camera to steal signs. Fiers told The Athletic the Astros would then communicate to hitters what pitches were coming by banging out a drum code on the dugout.