Astros star Alex Bregman directly apologized in a brief statement at the beginning of a Thursday morning news conference, which lasted less than 30 minutes. “I am really sorry about the choices that were made by our team, the organization and by me,” he said. “I have learned from this and hope to regain the trust of fans. … We as a team are totally focused on moving forward to the 2020 season.”
His teammate, José Altuve, added, “We had a great team meeting last night and the whole organization and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017. We especially feel remorse for our fans and for the game of baseball.” The players spoke for less than 90 seconds and declined to take questions, with Crane taking the bulk of the questions. Players later spoke to the media in a less formal setting.
Dusty Baker, the veteran manager brought in to restore honor to the franchise, pointed to the outsize role technology played in the scandal. “I must admit that when technology gets as advanced as it has become, the boundaries seem to change," he said. "The guys said what they did was wrong. Hopefully baseball can help clean up the game and control the technology so this doesn’t happen again.”
Crane, wearing an orange polo shirt emblazoned with the Astros logo, noted that he’d never been the kind of owner who hung out in the clubhouse and admitted that may have to change. “We’ll have better controls in place. Baseball will have better controls in place,” he said, without specifying what those would be.
Since news of the cheating schemes broke, some critics have called for Houston to forfeit wins or even the 2017 World Series title. Crane was adamant that the team’s victories and 2017 championship should remain in place.
“Our opinion is this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series and we’ll leave it at that,” Crane said.
He also declined to call what the team did cheating, saying only “we broke the rules.”