The Astros sign-stealing scandal continues to dominate the Major League Baseball landscape. So much so that the Yankees — who entered spring training ahead of a 2020 season in which they’re World Series favorites — are still talking about it.
Aroldis Chapman said on Thursday morning that he was “suspicious” that Astros star Jose Altuve had the sign when he hit the notorious walk-off, two-run home run off the Yankees’ closer in Game 6 of last year’s ALCS to send Houston to the World Series.
The moment has become a flashpoint in the scandal — which only centers around the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme in 2017 — as Altuve clutched his jersey tightly before telling his celebrating mob of teammates at home plate not to rip his shirt off.
The incessant replaying of the video has led to many around the baseball community speculating that Altuve was wearing a buzzer under his uniform to alert him of what pitches were coming.
At the time, Altuve told Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that the reason why he didn’t take his jersey off was that he was “shy,” though he’s had his uniform ripped off on plenty of occasions in years past.
“It’s a popular video right now,” Chapman said (h/t Newsday’s Erik Boland).
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez said on Wednesday that if he had hit a game-winning home run to send his team to the World Series, “they can rip off my pants. Everything. They can rip everything off.”
Altuve and Co. finally apologized for the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal on Thursday morning — though it wasn’t necessarily the most convincing.
Later at his locker though, when asked about possibly wearing a buzzer last season, Altuve pointed to commissioner Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball’s lack of evidence in its investigation rather than denying the fact.
Altuve and the rest of his Astros teammates involved in the 2017 scandal are safe from being punished by Major League Baseball after it struck a deal with the MLBPA granting amnesty to players who honestly testified in commissioner Manfred’s investigation.