MLB Commissioner calls his handling of Astros scandal ‘not my best decision’

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred recently revealed that he regrets granting immunity to the Houston Astros players involved in the infamous 2017-18 sign-stealing scandal.

“I’m not sure that I would have approached it with giving players immunity,” Manfred told Time magazine in a wide-ranging interview published Wednesday. “Once we gave players immunity, it puts you in a box as to what exactly you were going to do in terms of punishment.

“I might have gone about the investigative process without that grant of immunity and see where it takes us. Starting with, I’m not going to punish anybody, maybe not my best decision ever.”

No Astros players were punished after a league investigation found that Houston cheated during the regular season and playoffs of their World Series-winning 2017 season and during part of the 2018 regular season by using a camera-based sign-stealing system.

Mike Fiers, who pitched for the Astros in 2017, was one of four former Houston players who brought the scandal to light in 2019 when he told reporters that the organization used a video camera in the center-field seats to film the opposing catcher’s signals and relay signs in real time.

Astros players or team staffers watched the live camera feed behind the dugout and then used various audio cues to tell the batter what type of pitch was coming, per The Athletic’s original report.

MLB fined the Astros $5 million, and both manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for the entire 2020 season and eventually fired. The players’ immunity granted by Manfred, who took over as commissioner in 2015, drew the most scrutiny.

“There are some decisions that I would like to have back,” he told Time. “There’s absolutely no question about that. Some of the decisions surrounding the Houston situation, would like to have those back.

“I mean, if I could take back the rather flip comment I made about the World Series trophy at one time, I’d take that one back. There have been times, particularly in times of pressure, when I look back, taking a little more time might have led to a different outcome.”

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