Former baseball player Alex Rodriguez — who was once punished for using performance-enhancing drugs during his career — called out the Houston Astros for their apparent lack of remorse after it was revealed they were cheating in 2017.
The 44-year-old, who was serving as a commentator during a spring training game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees on Tuesday, discussed the lack of punishment that Astros player received after they were caught using a camera to steal pitching signs during their season that ended with a World Series championship.
“I think the one thing that has really upset the fans is you cheat, you win a championship, there is no suspension,” Rodriguez said, according to ESPN. “And then there’s no remorse.”
After the cheating scandal came to light, many baseball fans expected the Astros would have to relinquish their 2017 title.
But after an investigation, the MLB only stripped Houston of four of their draft picks and gave them a $5 million fine. The league also suspended general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for the 2020 season.
"I served the longest suspension in MLB history. It cost me well over $35M. And you know what? I deserved that."@AROD says the Astros deserve whatever comes their way after the lack of remorse they've shown. pic.twitter.com/AnezyIyhHa— ESPN (@espn) March 3, 2020
But Astros players were offered immunity for their testimony during the investigation, and the apologies they offered at the start of spring training fell flat for many fans.
“The last one I think is probably the worst one because people want to see remorse,” Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, said during the broadcast. “They want a real, authentic apology. And they have not received that thus far.”
“You’ve earned all this negative talk,” he added. “You’ve earned whatever comes your way, including whether it’s [being] hit by a pitch or negative press, you have divorced yourself from having the ability to protect yourself.”
Rodriguez then recalled his own cheating scandal, which saw him banned from playing the entire 2014 season for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy.
“From a guy who has made as many mistakes as anybody on the biggest stage — I served the longest suspension in Major League Baseball history, it cost me well over $35 million, and you know what? I deserved that,” Rodriquez said. “And as a result, I came back.”
“I owned it after acting like a buffoon for a long time,” he added.
A number of players have all spoken out about the Astros sign-stealing practices.
Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost in Game 7 of the World Series to the Astros, criticized the Houston team for what he called their “weak” apologies last month during spring training.
“I lost respect for those guys,” Bellinger said. “I would say everyone in The Show, in the big leagues, lost respect for those guys.”