Amid a storm of fiery criticism from fans and players alike, including strong comments on Friday from the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger, the Astros' felt the need to respond. Both manager Dusty Baker and shortstop Carlos Correa addressed Bellinger's comments.
On Friday, Cody Bellinger was clearly in a "tell us how you really feel" moment sharing his thoughts about the Houston Astros. He even took a swipe at Jose Altuve. In an interview just before the LA Dodger's first pitcher and catcher workout, Bellinger, Clayton Kershaw, Justin Turner, and Alex Wood took to the microphone. Bellinger, swinging back and forth as if he were either angry or nervous, was particularly vitriolic.
"Those guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don't realize is [Jose] Altuve stole an MVP from [Aaron] Judge in 2017. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us. But it's over."
Bellinger said "whatever" when asked about the punishment for the Astros. He said he felt that Astros' owner Jim Crane's apology was weak and that the league was weak in its punishment of the Astros.
The investigation of the Houston Astros concluded that there was no sign-stealing in 2019, but Bellinger was strong in his reaction to that conclusion as well. According to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN, when Bellinger was asked if he believed the Astros continued to cheat in 2019, Cody replied, "A hundred percent. I don't know why they would stop."
These types of heated debates, which can hurt Major League Baseball, often go on and on until cooler heads prevail. ESPN's Jeff Passan reported some of new Astros manager Dusty Baker's thoughts on how this issue can turn ugly.
"I'm depending on the league to try to put a stop to this seemingly premeditated retaliation that I'm hearing about. And in most instances in life, you get kind of reprimanded when you have premeditated anything. I'm just hoping that the league puts a stop to this before somebody gets hurt."
Houston's Carlos Correa had a cooler head as well when he replied to Bellinger's comments, but he wasn't about to let those comments go without a pointed reply. In an interview with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Correa defended Jose Aluve while also being apologetic about the team's action in 2017.
"The few times that the trash can was banged was without his consent and he [Altuve] would go inside the clubhouse and inside the dugout to whoever was banging the trash can and he would get pissed,"
No doubt, the back-and-forth from fans and players will go on, at least for a while, but these heated debates, he-said/he-said, and vitriolic language can certainly damage baseball. The hurt over what the Astros did is understandable, but it won't be just the Astros or Astros fans who are hurt if the rage builds to a boiling point. The Dodgers, the Red Sox, and every other team will suffer, along with MLB and the game we all love.