It's time for spring training, and the Houston Astros' first order of business Thursday was a series of apologies for their high-tech cheating. Owner Jim Crane, manager Dusty Baker, and star players Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve all read prepared statements to the media about the sign-stealing mess, reports Yahoo Sports. "I am really sorry about the choices that were made by our team, by the organization, and by me," said Bregman. "I have learned from this and I hope to regain the trust of baseball fans." Altuve added "that the whole Astros organization and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017." Crane vowed that such cheating would never again happen under his watch, notes the Houston Chronicle, but he also told reporters: "Our opinion is this didn't impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series and we'll leave it at that."
That will likely rankle critics who view the team's 2017 World Series win as tainted. "When technology gets as advanced as it has become, the boundaries seem to change," said GM Baker, brought in to replace the fired former manager. "The guys said what they did was wrong. Hopefully baseball can help clean up the game and control the technology so this doesn't happen again.” Meanwhile, the Washington Post notes controversy is now swirling over video of Altuve's AL series-clinching home run against the Yankees in 2019. As he neared home plate, Altuve told his jubilant teammates not to rip his jersey, fueling speculation he was wearing a buzzer that alerted him to what pitch was coming. It is indeed "a little suspicious," says Aroldis Chapman, the Yankee pitcher who gave up the homer. But he added that he can't say for sure whether Altuve knew the pitch. (More Houston Astros stories.)