Jose Altuve says Astros 'will be in the World Series again' after sign-stealing scandal

Earlier this week, MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred disciplined the Houston Astros for illegal sign-stealing during their 2017 World Series championship season. Manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were suspended and later fired, and the team must forfeit four high draft picks, among other things.

The Astros held their 2020 Astros FanFest Event at Minute Maid Park on Saturday and, as expected, the players in attendance were asked about the sign-stealing scandal. Alex Bregman mostly ducked questions. Jose Altuve was a bit more defiant, declaring the Astros would return to the World Series this coming season.

Here's what Altuve told reporters, including Mark Berman of KRIV Fox 26:

"Believe me, at the end of the year everything will be fine. We're gonna be in the World Series again. People don't believe it. We will. We made it last year. We were one game away from winning it all. I'm happy for the Nationals. We will be in the World Series again."

...

"You don't want anyone to call you (a cheater). I have two options. One you just cry, or go out and play the game and perform and help my team and you know which one I'm gonna do."   

Manfred's report detailing MLB's investigation called the sign-stealing scheme "player-driven," and Altuve was asked Saturday whether the players felt responsible for Hinch's and Luhnow's dismissals. Similar to Bregman, he ducked the question. The Houston Chronicle's Chandler Rome has Altuve's response:

"Tough question," Altuve said. "Like I said, we are a team. I don't think one is better or worse than another one. We are all in this together, and we're going to move forward." 

Sticking with the prevalent theme since the sign-stealing scandal news broke, there was no remorse shown Saturday. Hinch and Carlos Beltran apologized to baseball and baseball fans -- "I apologize to all you for our mistakes," Hinch said in a statement -- otherwise people still with the franchise have deflected blame. The players, Luhnow, owner Jim Crane, everyone.

I get that the players and the franchise are in a brutal spot right now -- that is their own fault, of course -- but eventually someone still with the Astros will come out and say they're sorry, right? "We're sorry for hurting the game of baseball and regret our poor judgment. We hope to show we are still a great team regardless of our past mistakes." That's not so hard, is it?

Then again, the Astros have been pretty terrible at public relations over the years, so maybe we shouldn't be surprised. Their response to the Brandon Taubman incident was lax and, when asked about Manfred's report describing Houston's culture as "problematic" during, Crane replied "I don't agree with that," during his press conference. Woof.

I'm sure the Astros players will take this "us against the world" mentality into the new season because that's what athletes do. They use things as motivation. If you're hoping the team will express remorse for a scandal that damaged at least one recent World Series winner, well, I wouldn't hold my breath.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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