The war of words through the media between Astros owner Jim Crane and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman continues, with Cashman now going back at Crane who had previously took shots back at Cashman.
One might recall the history between the two teams on this particular subject goes back to the 2017 ALCS. The Astros beat the Yankees in seven games and went on to win the World Series. In the 2019 ALCS, the Astros again took down the Yankees — this time in six games on a Jose Altuve walk-off home run. In the ensuing offseason, the Astros sign-stealing scandal came to light.
Back in March of this year, Cashman fired a shot across the bow of the Astros with the following quote:
“The only thing that stopped (us) was something that was so illegal and horrific. So I get offended when I start hearing we haven’t been to the World Series since ’09. Because I’m like, ‘Well, I think we actually did it the right way.’ Pulled it down, brought it back up. Drafted well, traded well, developed well, signed well. The only thing that derailed us was a cheating circumstance that threw us off.”
This past week, Crane referenced a letter sent to the Yankees in 2017 from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. In that letter, it notes that the Yankees were fined for sign-stealing behavior from 2015-16, but also clears them from wrongdoing after Manfred sent a league-wide letter late in the 2017 season to crack down on the use of the video replay room to decode opposing teams’ signs.
“I found his comments to be extremely strange,” Crane said. “There’s the letter, and you were doing it, too. You were there dude. What are you talking about? If I was one of the teams, and I knew our team was doing it [cheating], I’d keep my mouth shut and just go about our business. But listen, I can only control what’s going on here. I can’t control what the other guys do.”
Now that we’re caught up, it’s Cashman’s turn. Via ESPN’s Marly Rivera:
“I don’t think anybody’s going to dance to the tune he’s singing,” Cashman said. “I’d say it’s called deflection, him trying to equate probably … an equivalent of a parking ticket to maybe 162 felonies.”
“I don’t think anybody equates it to what the Astros did except for Houston,” he said. “[That is] the feedback from everybody in the industry, including Major League Baseball.”
“No one’s buying the tune he’s singing, no one’s going to dance to that tune. And the reason I kind of equated it to a parking ticket versus a felony is, as you recall, they lost multiple years of first-round draft picks, they were fined millions of dollars and decided to fire their manager and general manager because of their actions. There’s no equivalent to any of it. So that’s why I said it’s a deflection. No one’s buying it. No one’s singing to that dance tune. It is what it is. But I applaud him for trying.”
The Astros fired general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch as the result of the scandal. They were fined $5 million and lost their first- and second-round picks in the 2021 and 2022 drafts. The Yankees were fined $100,000 for their violations.
In somewhat related matters, the Yankees are 23-8 with the best record in baseball and a 4 1/2 game lead in the AL East. The Astros are 21-11, having won 10-straight games, and sit in first place in the AL West.
Unfortunately, they don’t play each other for a while. The Astros visit the Yankees June 23-26. They’ll play a single game in the Bronx on June 30 — the series in New York was originally a three-gamer scheduled early in the season before the owner lockout forced a delay — and then on July 21, there’s an Astros at Yankees doubleheader. That’s it, for the regular season. Perhaps we’ll get to see them meet in the playoffs again?