José Altuve is shy.
That’s what the Houston Astros second baseman said after he warned his teammates not to tear off his jersey following his American League Championship Series-clinching home run in October.
His agent, Scott Boras, offered the same explanation last month after some folks started speculating that Altuve was wearing a buzzer of some sort to receive stolen signs of opposing pitchers.
On Monday, however, a shirtless Altuve seemed to have no issue with parading past reporters in what appeared to be a response to yet another chapter in the Astros’ sign-stealing saga.
Two days earlier, Astros teammate Carlos Correa told Ken Rosenthal in an interview published by the Athletic that Altuve did not take part in the scheme (which, Correa said, did not involve buzzers).
Correa said Altuve had two reasons for not wanting his shirt ripped. The first was that Altuve’s wife was unhappy when that happened earlier in the season.
The second, Correa said, was “because he’s got an unfinished tattoo on his collarbone that honestly looked terrible. It was a bad tattoo, and he didn’t want nobody to see it. He didn’t want to show it at all.”
Without saying a word about it Monday, Altuve made it clear to reporters that he does, in fact, have a tattoo on his left collarbone. It says “Melanie,” the name of his 3-year-old daughter, over a heart.
Jose Altuve was not wearing a shirt when he just walked past a big group reporters in the Astros clubhouse. He has “Melanie,” his daughters name, tattooed on his left clavicle with a pink heart. That did not seem like an accident.— Sam Fortier (@Sam4TR) February 17, 2020
Classic: Jose Altuve walks to locker, towel over shoulder. Big mob of reporters. He grabs some workout stuff, drops towel from shoulder, reveals tatioo, walks off as he’s pulling shirt over head without a word.— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) February 17, 2020
Altuve later told reporters that he got the tattoo during the middle of last season and it was done in two sections.
Jose Altuve thanks Carlos Correa for defending him but wouldn’t talk about Cody Bellinger’s comments pic.twitter.com/7X1yJVGJlF— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) February 17, 2020
Of course, none of this does anything to disprove the buzzer theory. Altuve could have gotten the tattoo at any time during the last three months or so. Or he could have gotten it at some point before that game and also worn a buzzer. Or Correa’s account could be 100% accurate.
The only thing Monday’s locker room encounter actually shows is that Altuve really isn’t shy.