Among the notable victims of the Astros’ cheating scandal in 2017 were the New York Yankees, who lost to Houston in a thrilling American League Championship Series that year.
New York went 0-4 at Minute Maid Park, where the Astros were found to have used a monitor displaying the center-field camera feed throughout the 2017 season.
CC Sabathia, the longtime Yankees pitcher who started Game 7 of that series, isn’t taking what the Astros did lightly.
“It’s weird, like it changes all the time,” Sabathia said during an appearance on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” on Tuesday night. “When I first heard it, I was upset, and then as investigations went on … I was like, well, we can’t go back and play the games. … But as more information started to come out, I’m like, we played a seven-game series in 2017, ALCS, and we lost really on kind of like one pitch.
“As everything’s been coming out and the more facts that we get, it’s getting frustrating, man, to sit here and know that late in my career I could’ve had a title, maybe ’17 or maybe ’18. But we got cheated out of a team kind of doing something that’s not within the rules of the game.”
Sabathia, 39, retired after this past season, his 19th in the majors and 11th with the Yankees. He has since taken a job as a special adviser to the team, according to the New York Post.
Sabathia’s comments came a day after Major League Baseball suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for the 2020 season for their roles in the scandal, which the league said involved the team using a camera-based, sign-stealing system in 2017 and part of 2018. Luhnow and Hinch were later fired by Houston owner Jim Crane.
As part of its penalties, MLB also said the Astros would lose first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021, and the organization was fined a record $5 million.
Sabathia, though, wishes commissioner Rob Manfred had taken it a step further.
“Vacate it,” he told Showtime, referencing the Astros’ World Series title that year. “I wouldn’t be mad at that.”
Major League Baseball still is investigating the Boston Red Sox over allegations they illegally stole signs in 2018. The team on Tuesday night parted ways with manager Alex Cora, who was bench coach for the Astros during that 2017 season.
Boston hired Cora the following offseason, and he led the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2018, getting past Sabathia and the Yankees in the AL Division Series that postseason.