Ripken: Astros Owner Jim Crane Is Wrong

Crane claimed that the Astros' sign-stealing scheme didn't impact the game; Billy Ripken couldn't disagree more

Zach Gelb
February 14, 2020 - 7:27 am
Jim Crane Astros Apology

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Jim Crane and the Houston Astros publicly apologized Thursday for their sign-stealing scheme, but the apology was, for many, unsatisfying. During the press conference, Crane said the sign-stealing scheme “didn’t impact the game.”

MLB Network analyst Billy Ripken didn’t quite understand that claim.

“I really am not sure how we can make that statement,” Ripken said on The Zach Gelb Show. “If you ask the pitchers around baseball, ‘Did you ever throw a 1-2 slider to any one of those hitters and it was a really damn good-looking pitch and they just spit on it and the umpire called it a ball,’ they’re going to say yes. It’s maybe not so much hitting certain pitches, but if you don’t chase a slider in the dirt and you get another pitch to live and you know a heater is coming or you know a breaking ball is coming that he’s got to throw over [the] plate, it’s going to make you better. I don’t think there’s any question about that. When something makes you better like that, it has to affect some of the results that happened on the baseball field. It is a very unfortunate thing.”

The scandal cost three managers their jobs, including A.J. Hinch. The Astros, who were fined $5 million, also lost draft picks and fired general manager Jeff Luhnow.

“I do applaud the commissioner’s office on how he handed down this punishment and penalty because I think moving forward, once we get through this investigation of the Red Sox, I think we might clean it up a little bit,” Ripken said. “This was not like a PED suspension where you serve 50 the first time around and you come back. No, the commissioner was very clear. The way he handled that is well done.”

Ripken, who played in the majors from 1987 to 1998, believes baseball should make changes to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

“Let’s get rid of all live feeds near the dugout,” he said. “Let’s not have a replay system anymore. I think we could find a former player or baseball person that goes up in the TV booth, watches the monitor and within 10 seconds we all know if he was out or safe. I don’t think we need to hold up the game with a replay and the air traffic controller headsets. Let’s take the feed away from the dugout. But also what the commissioner did, I think he made it very clear: we’re not going to tolerate this moving forward.”