TAMPA — The Yankees hold a great deal of anger in their hearts over the Cheatin’ Astros, but they have plenty of room left to be angry with MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred, too, for the poor handling of the entire Astros Affair.
Players and teams complained about the Astros for years, but nothing was done.
That was the word from Yankees reliever Zack Britton on Wednesday at Steinbrenner Field after the Yankees completed a three-hour meeting with Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Players Association, who was making his annual visit to the camp.
Only a small portion of the meeting was spent on the Astros, because of many other lingering issues like a new collective bargaining agreement around the corner and technology changes coming to the game, but it was an emotional segment of the gathering.
“The stance of the guys pretty much in here is more frustration with MLB and the commissioner’s office and the handling of that,” Britton explained. “The union is not privy to all the information, so there is not a lot of transparency there on our side, so I think the frustration lies with some of the issues of with the teams filing complaints three or four years ago and nothing being done, so the players’ frustration lies right now along with the commissioner’s office.”
Clearly, MLB dropped the electronic sign-stealing cheatin’ ball and did not investigate the Astros the way Houston should have been investigated. That irks the players who saw all this coming from a mile away.
“At the same time, as a team we are more focused on moving forward and trying to win a World Series this year, which I think is the right mindset to have at this stage,” Britton said.
“There was a lot of good dialogue,” he added.
There was heated dialogue too, according to one Yankee.
As for technology, hitters still want the ability to look at their at-bats on video during games. They don’t want the game unplugged as MLB is proposing. Clark said the Players Association is looking at a way for players to see their at-bats, but the part of the at-bat in which the catcher gives the signs will be cut out. No signs, but plenty of swings.
Noted Britton of the concern of video being limited in 2020 by MLB: “I think the biggest thing is that when I came up to the major leagues you didn’t have the access to technology like you do now. [Now] a lot of guys [in the minors] are able to view their at-bats. Technology is available to them. They are able to use that right now. MLB’s proposal would just completely be like a blackout, there would be no access to that. That’s a pretty extreme stance because of one team [the Astros] that everyone else is punished. Hopefully we can find some common ground, definitely before Opening Day. I think guys would like to understand what we are going to be allowed to use and what we are not going to be allowed to use.”