Though MLB’s official report on the Houston Astros’ sign stealing and trash can-banging antics in the last few years found that there was nothing untoward going on in the 2019 campaign, Washington Nationals’ catcher Suzuki said he and his teammates were pretty sure that it was still going on in this past October’s World Series.
“Oh, yeah, no question,” Suzuki said, as quoted this week by Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell.
“We could hear it from their dugout. We heard their whistling. What are you going to do?”
Asked by the veteran WaPost reporter about the Astros’ denials of any cheating in 2019, Suzuki dismissed their claims.
“They just got better at it,” Suzuki said.
That didn’t sit well with Astros’ infielder Carlos Correa, who told reporters this weekend that Suzuki was wrong.
“I heard Kurt Suzuki’s comments also saying ‘Yeah, they were cheating,’” Correa told reporters at the Nats and Astros’ shared Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, FL.
”So, you guys now, all the players now, are above the lawyers that MLB is using, above the Commissioner’s report. Like seriously, bro? The Commissioner’s report clearly says in 2019, nothing happened.
“It’s straight-up baseball players with talent playing the game of baseball...”
“And you have the audacity to tell reporters that yeah, they were cheating because we heard the whistles? The fans whistle in the game. The fans are whistling all the time in the game. What does a whistle mean? So don’t go out there and tell reporters that we were cheating. Don’t go above MLB, the investigation, the lawyers, the report, when obviously there was nothing going on.
“Oh, and they won the championship, and he’s still talking about that? Enjoy your ring, enjoy your teammates. Enjoy what you guys accomplished. Congratulations to you guys. You guys played better than us. That was it.”
Suzuki’s response to Correa’s response since this clearly has devolved into a high school-ish back and forth?
“It is what it is,” Suzuki told reporters on Sunday morning in West Palm Beach.
“I’m just enjoying my World Series with my teammates, that’s what I’m doing right now, so we’re just enjoying ourselves and getting ready for the season.”
“Honestly, I’m too old to get in the middle,” Suzuki said, seemingly hoping to just end the exchange.
“I usually don’t associate myself with this kind of stuff, I just kind of go about my business and try to stay out of everything and get ready to play baseball.”
Whether or not the Astros were doing anything untoward in the 2019 postseason, they had developed enough of a reputation for that sort of thing that the Nationals did a lot of work to counteract any potential cheating.
“You hear stuff around the league, and all you do is, you do your due diligence, and you try to prepare yourself to not get into that situation,” Suzuki explained, “... and we just did our homework on our end and did everything we possibly can to combat the rumors that were going around, and we just prepared ourselves, and that was the bottom line, was just getting ready for it if it did happen.”
The veteran catcher said in spite of their proximity to the Astros, and all the questions they are having to answer this Spring, he and his teammates are just trying to stay focused and prepare for the 2020 campaign.
“That’s their situation,” Suzuki said. “I think [Max] Scherzer said it best, they are the ones who have to do the answering, we’re just getting ready for the 2020 season to defend the title. That’s it, that’s the bottom line is we’re getting ready, enjoying our teammates and getting ready for the season.”
Is it weird, Suzuki asked, to be involved in this sort of back and forth with opposing players and reporters?
“I thought you guys were going to talk about the 1 for 20 in the World Series,” Suzuki said.
Suzuki was actually 2 for 10 with a home run in the 2019 Fall Classic, for what it’s worth, but what could he have done if he knew what was coming?