Oakland Athletics’ pitcher Sean Manaea recently criticized the Houston Astros.
Mike Fiers, you have company.
In case what I’m referring to isn’t blatantly obvious by now, let it be known that the Houston Astros were involved in the creation and the subsequent execution of one of the most elaborate cheating schemes in the history of baseball.
Devised in 2017, the scheme played a major role in the team’s championship that season over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Houston was rumored to have utilized the system during parts of the 2018 and 2019 seasons as well, leading to an investigation by MLB earlier this year that resulted in suspensions and other penalties.
The rest, as we all know, is history.
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It’s not the kind of history many players and fans have been eager to forget, however. Just on the A’s alone, left-hander Sean Manaea and Fiers, a former Astros pitcher` who played on that 2017 championship team, have outwardly condemned Houston’s actions.
Oakland Athletics’ pitcher Sean Manaea joined the long list of players to criticize the Astros.
Speaking with 95.7 FM The Game on Monday, the southpaw voiced his displeasure with the scandal and the way Astros players have handled themselves since the news of their scheme became public.
Strong words from Manaea, who clearly didn’t hold back when given the chance to express his opinions on the air.
Losing respect for players is a big deal. That’s one of the biggest indictments a peer can charge someone with, especially in sports where garnering respect is a significant part of a player or team’s reputation.
It’s one thing to not like someone, but liking and respecting are not always synonymous with one another.
Furthering the issue, it doesn’t help in this case that the Athletics and Astros are AL West rivals, both of whom have aspirations to contend in 2020, therefore making the dislike factor inherently apparent.
So adding a lack of respect can’t be good for a detente between the two teams going forward.
Manaea didn’t stop at those initial words, though. He managed to take his criticism to the next level.
“Everything they’ve done, the World Series title, their regular-season stats…to me it doesn’t mean anything.”
Talk about bold statements. Of course, Manaea will need to back those words up with his performance on the mound, especially when he matches up against Houston in the upcoming shortened season.
Luckily for Oakland’s ace, that hasn’t been much of a problem when healthy. Though he’s just 2-5 in 12 starts against the Astros, he more importantly owns a 3.48 ERA in those games.
It wasn’t all negative comments from the lanky lefty, however. He did acknowledge that Houston could’ve been “legit” just based on their sheer talent alone.
Even with that in mind, Manaea wholeheartedly believes the cheating undermined their legacy, and that should take away from their accomplishments over the last few years.
His opinion is certainly a popular one within league circles as well as with fans.
This isn’t the first time Manaea has been a vocal critic of the sign-stealing scandal, either. He previously slammed the Astros for it back in February, following public apologies made by multiple prominent Astros players and team owner Jim Crane.
With a shortened season and the absence of fans from stadiums, it seems as though the Astros might skate by in 2020 without much retribution.
That won’t appear to serve as any roadblock in stopping Sean Manaea, Mike Fiers, and others from doing what they can to revisit the issue, though.