Arguably no Houston Astros player has shown more remorse about the team's sign-stealing scandal than shortstop Carlos Correa. On Saturday, Correa partook in the longest -- and arguably the most insightful -- interview any Astros player has participated in this spring, sitting down with Ken Rosenthal for a segment that will air on MLB Network.
Rosenthal published a partial transcript on The Athletic, with Correa firing back at Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger for not knowing "the facts." Correa took exception with one of Bellinger's comments in particular: the claim that Jose Altuve had robbed Aaron Judge of the 2017 American League Most Valuable Player Award.
Correa defended his double-play partner, saying that Altuve was one of the few players who did not participate in the Astros' sign-stealing operation."The few times that the trash can was banged was without his consent and he would go inside the clubhouse and inside the dugout to whoever was banging the trash can and he would get pissed," Correa said.
Correa's claim is backed by data collected about the sign-stealing scandal by an Astros fan. Altuve, according to the research, heard the fewest trash can bangs of any Astros regular in 2017.
Correa also explained why Altuve was adamant about keeping his jersey on following his walk-off home run against the New York Yankees to win the 2019 AL Championship Series. A popular, albeit unfounded theory in baseball circles has been that the Astros deployed a buzzer system, and that Altuve was wearing the device at the time.
According to Correa, there were two reasons why Altuve didn't want his jersey ripped off: 1) Altuve's wife had objected to the practice earlier in the season; and 2) Altuve had an in-progress tattoo on his collarbone that "honestly looked terrible," per Correa. Really. Here's part of his explanation:
So, one, he didn't want to take his shirt off because his wife had told my wife earlier in the year for me to not to do that. So he was telling me not to do it. And, number two, he had an unfinished tattoo that looked kinda bad, that he didn't want people to see and people to talk about. That was the reason.
Let us not overlook that history was made on Saturday, as never before has a player's defense of his teammate's integrity involved publicly torching him for a bad tattoo. True innovators, those Astros.