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‘We did it to ourselves,’ A.J. Hinch says of Astros’ tainted title

Former Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch returns to the dugout after a mound visit against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning in Game 5 of the World Series at Nationals Park on Oct. 27, 2019 in Washington.
Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch during Game 5 of the 2019 World Series in Washington. Hinch was fired in the aftermath of a sign-stealing scandal.
(Patrick Smith / Getty Images)

Is the Houston Astros’ World Series championship tainted?

A.J. Hinch, the manager of that 2017 team, did not say no.

“It’s a fair question,” he said on MLB Network on Thursday.

The Astros beat the Dodgers in the the 2017 World Series. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred last month announced that a league investigation had determined the Astros had violated league rules against using technology to steal signs during games.

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The perception that the Astros cheated their way to victory might never be erased, Hinch acknowledged.

Pete Rose asked for reinstatement to Major League Baseball, arguing the league did not impose similar discipline for steroids and sign stealing.

“We did it to ourselves,” he said.

Hinch and Astros’ general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one year by Manfred, then fired by Astros owner Jim Crane. Alex Cora, then the Astros’ bench coach, was fired as manager of the Boston Red Sox. Carlos Beltran, then an Astros’ veteran player, was fired as manager of the New York Mets.

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In his first interview since then, Hinch suggested the question of whether the Astros’ title was tainted might diminish over time, and with the continued excellence of such stars as Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman.

“I hope over time, it’s proven that it wasn’t,” Hinch said. “But I understand the question. It’s a fair question. And people are going to have to draw their own conclusions.

Curtis Granderson was a three-time All-Star who in 2007 became the third player with at least 30 doubles, 20 triples, 20 homers and 20 steals in a season.

“Unfortunately, we opened that door, as a group. That question may never be answered. We may never know. We’re going to have to live and move forward and be better in the sport. Unfortunately, no one can really answer that question. I can’t pinpoint the advantages, or what exactly would have happened otherwise.

“But we did it to ourselves.”

The full interview is scheduled to air Friday at 3 p.m. PT on MLB Network.


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