Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger didn't mince words on Friday when commenting about the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal and subsequent apologies.
"I thought the apologies were whatever," Bellinger said, referencing the Astros' press conference on Thursday from their spring training site in West Palm Beach, Fla. "I thought (owner) Jim Crane's was weak. I thought (commissioner Rob) Manfred's punishment was weak, giving (the players) immunity. Those guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don't realize is (Jose) Altuve stole an MVP from (New York Yankees slugger Aaron) Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us. But it's over."
Major League Baseball conducted an investigation and declared that the Astros stole signs throughout the 2017 season, continued to do so for only part of the 2018 campaign and not in 2019. Bellinger, however, said he believes the cheating continued.
"A hundred percent," Bellinger said. "I don't know why they would stop."
The Dodgers not only lost the 2017 World Series to the Astros, they also dropped the championship series in 2018 to the Boston Red Sox, who are being investigated to determine if they stole opponents' signs electronically -- a violation of baseball rules.
Bellinger also shared his thoughts on Altuve's ALCS-clinching home run against the Yankees last fall, with the Astros second baseman yelling at his teammates not to rip off his jersey as he approached home plate. Altuve's actions have increased speculation that the team's sign-stealing scandal included the use of wiring devices.
"I don't know what human hits a walk-off home run against Aroldis Chapman to send your team to the World Series, and 1) has the thought to say, 'Don't rip my jersey off,' but 2) go into the tunnel, change your shirt, and then come out and do your interview. That makes no sense to me," Bellinger said.
Altuve and teammate Alex Bregman spoke for a combined one minute, 24 seconds on Thursday and did not directly address their role in the scandal.
"We had a great team meeting last night. And I want to say the whole Astros organization and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017," Altuve said. "We especially feel remorse for the impact on our fans and the game of baseball. Our team is determined to move forward to play with intensity and bring back a championship to Houston in 2020."
Crane said he blamed the team's leadership for failing its players. Major League Baseball said its investigation showed the scheme was player-driven.
MLB suspended manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for the season after the investigation, fined the team $5 million and took away four high draft picks. Hinch and Luhnow subsequently were fired. Dusty Baker has taken over as manager, with James Click hired as GM.
--Field Level Media