Astros Manager Dusty Baker Wants MLB to Protect His Players From Vengeful Beanballs

Players around the league have called for retaliation against Houston

Dusty Baker looks on during spring training
Manager Dusty Baker of the Houston Astros looks on during a team workout.
Michael Reaves/Getty Images
By Luis Paez-Pumar / February 15, 2020 4:15 pm

The Houston Astros cheating scandal is the story that keeps on giving. Following a week where the team issued what were widely deemed as insufficient apologies for their sign-stealing scheme during their run to the 2017 World Series title, new manager Dusty Baker has issued a plea to Major League Baseball. Simply put, he wants the league to protect his players from potential retaliation from pitchers who believe the Astros have not shown enough remorse for their misdeeds.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday at Houston’s camp in West Palm Beach, Baker admonished the seemingly “premeditated” nature of threats from players around the league to get one back on the Astros during games:

I’m depending on the league to try to put a stop to this seemingly premeditated retaliation that I’m hearing about. And in most instances in life, you get kind of reprimanded when you have premeditated anything. I’m just hoping that the league puts a stop to this before somebody gets hurt.

Baker’s comments seem to be a direct response to those of Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling, who on Friday said that he would consider throwing at Astros players if the situation presented itself. Similarly, as outlined by ESPN, Cleveland pitcher Mike Clevinger said two weeks ago that Astros hitters will not be “comfortable” taking at-bats this season, with the implication being that pitchers will throw at them.

The general response around the league has mirrored these comments, with high-profile players such as Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant and Dodgers star Cody Bellinger coming out in protest of what they see as a weak response from the league towards the players implicated in the cheating scandal, such as second baseman Jose Altuve and third baseman Alex Bregman.  For now, the only punishments handed down by MLB in connection with the scandal have been bans for executives and managers, including one-year suspensions for former manager A.J. Hinch and former general manager Jeff Luhnow. Both were subsequently fired by the Astros.

On the other hand, no players were disciplined, since the league granted them immunity in exchange for their cooperation. This enraged their counterparts, which is perhaps why some have felt the need to voice their own plans for discipline on the field.

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