A sign-stealing scandal that rocked Major League Baseball is just the tip of the iceberg, according to legendary Cincinnati Reds baseball player Pete Rose.
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While commenting for the first time on the scandal, Rose told FOXBusiness’ Stuart Varney that players are benefitting from cheating and he “feels bad” for Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred because suspending lots of players would “ruin” the teams.
A new sign-stealing firestorm was sparked by a private Twitter account that alleged the Houston Astros used a buzzer device underneath their jerseys to relay signs. That drew attention to a video of Astros star Jose Altuve’s walk-off home run against the New York Yankees, a feat that sent the Texas players to the 2019 World Series.
In the video, Altuve appears to signal to teammates not to rip off his jersey when he heads to home plate to celebrate.
After investigating whether members of the team illegally used technology to steal signs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Major League Baseball doled out one-year suspensions to former Astros manager A.J. Hinch and former general manager Jeff Luhnow, along with a $5 million maximum penalty and an order forfeiting future draft picks. After the fines were announced, the Astros fired Hinch and Luhnow. The Boston Red Sox are under investigation.
Teams haven’t taken the controversy lightly. The Red Sox parted ways with manager Alex Cora shortly after the MLB’s report detailing his role in the Astros scandal. The New York Mets also fired former Astros player Carlos Beltran before he began managing the team.
Once players get to spring training this year, “a lot more is going to come out” because they will begin to play blame games, Rose argued.
No stranger to controversy himself, Rose was permanently banned from Major League Baseball in 1989 after making bets while he played and managed the Reds. He was ruled ineligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame despite a stellar career.
Even so, when Varney asked whether sign-stealing or gambling is worse, the legend playfully responded: “steroids.”
At the end of the day, he continued, “gambling would be third on that list unless you’re talking about gambling against your team” and sign-stealing is the worst.
As for Rose's own bets, they were in his team's favor, he said: “I tried to win every game the best way I could."