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Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said he had some regrets about his handling of a game Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, in which he admitted in a recent interview that granting immunity to players “was probably not the best decision I’ve ever made.”
MLB has yet to sanction any Houston players after a league investigation confirmed that the Astros had cheated by using a camera-based system to steal signals during the regular season and playoffs for the 2017 World Series-winning season and during part of the 2018 regular season.
Manager AJ Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for the entire 2020 season and eventually fired by the Astros, who also lost their draft picks and were fined $5 million. But the players’ immunity drew widespread criticism of Manfred, who said “there are some decisions that I would like to go back on,” in Extensive interview with Time magazine.
“I’m not sure I would have approached it by giving the players immunity,” Manfred told Time magazine, which published the interview on Wednesday. “Once we give players immunity, it puts you in a box on exactly what you were going to do in terms of punishment.
“I could have gone through the investigative process without this grant of immunity and see where that would take us. Starting with, I’m not going to penalize anyone, probably not the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Some of the 2017 Astros still got booed at road courts and vilified by opponents, an outcome Manfred alluded to during an interview with ESPN in 2020 when he defended his decision.
White Sox outfielder Kenan Middleton called Twins shortstop Carlos Correa a “cheater” last month after striking out the former Astros star — the latest example that some in the MLB community haven’t forgotten about the saga. Manfred said he also regrets adding to the hype when he referred to the World Series trophy as a “piece of metal” during his 2020 ESPN interview.
“There are some resolutions that I would like to go back to,” he told Time magazine. “There’s absolutely no doubt about that. Some decisions about the Houston situation, you’d like her back.”
“I mean, if I could undo the upside-down comment I made about a World Series trophy at one time, I’d take it back. There were times, especially in stressful times, when I look back a little bit of time might have led to a different outcome.”
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