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AJ Hinch 'deeply sorry' for Astros cheating, denies direct involvement

14 January 2020

Rob Manfred has been commissioner for five years.

If you read the statement, there was a couple of paragraphs that were some very pointed criticism about the Astros' culture, as instilled by the general manager, Jeff Luhnow, and the manager, A.J. Hinch.

Manfred says in his report that Cora's discipline has not yet been decided and that it will come when he is done investigating the Red Sox' sign-stealing. The Astros responded by firing Luhnow and Hinch.

When the sign sequence was decoded, a player in the video replay room would act as a "runner" to pass along the information to the dugout, according to the findings. Manfred said Cora developed the sign-stealing system used by the Astros.

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Manfred said that the banging system was not used in 2018 but that signs were stolen by the replay room and communicated to the dugout during at least part of that season.

Luhnow and Hinch were suspended for the 2020 season, but Crane said the team wanted to go beyond that ruling. Those guys took away from the Dodgers possibly winning their first World Series, they changed how we look at Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, and Dave Roberts, and there are teams from the American League who could have won the World Series if the Astros didn't know what pitches were coming and banged on a trash can because it was an off-speed pitch... However, he noted that the "evidence consistently showed I didn't endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices".

Sign stealing among teams is nearly as old as the game itself.

Two other major league managers, Pete Rose and Leo Durocher, have been suspended; Rose got a lifetime suspension for gambling in 1989 and Durocher was hit with a one-year suspension in 1947 for associating with gamblers. Hitters are also allowed to visit the replay room during games to study their swing. "Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players' conduct".

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Takeaway: It means Cora had an outsized role in the most notable scandal originally reported by The Athletic in November. That process stopped sometime during the season "because the players no longer believed it was effective".

Astros players, the investigation found, used a camera mounted in center-field to watch opponents' signals.

Takeaway: After Alex Cora left the team to take over as Red Sox manager, the use of the replay room dissipated.

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AJ Hinch 'deeply sorry' for Astros cheating, denies direct involvement