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As Astros try apology for cheating scandal, D-backs CEO Hall weighs in

Alex Bregman #2 and Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros look on as owner Jim Crane reads a prepared statement during a press conference at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on February 13, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

The Houston Astros held a press conference Thursday to issue an apology for their cheating scandal in the 2017 World Series that rocked the baseball world.

The execution of that apology, however, was lackluster by most accounts.

“Our opinion is that this didn’t impact the game,” Astros owner Jim Crane said. “We had a good team. We won the World Series. And we’ll leave it at that.”

Asked moments later about his statement about the effects on the game, Crane tried to backtrack, saying, “It’s hard to determine how it impacted the game, if it impacted the game.”

The Astros have not disciplined players, nor did Major League Baseball when it suspended manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for an entire season. The Houston organization has since fired both of them.

“We’re not going to do anything to the players,” the owner said Thursday.

Shortly thereafter, Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall joined Doug & Wolf for a scheduled interview for Newsmakers Week on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. Like Crane, Hall was given the question: Is the Astros’ 2017 World Series title legitimate?

“Well, I’ll tell you this: They’re in a real tough spot because they have an absolutely fantastic team,” Hall said. “And I don’t know how much of that was a part of it. And I don’t think any of us really know the full story, nor would we want to even go there. I don’t think it’s up to me to decide whether it’s tainted or whether it’s legit. That’s up to baseball.”

Hall was also asked what he would’ve done about such a scandal, if it were to happen in his own organization.

“It’s problematic, obviously,” he said. “And we’re in positions now where with everything that has come down, we’ve constantly asked. I can’t tell you guys how many times our poor staff has heard the question from me, ‘Have we done anything?’ Because I just want to make 100% sure, if not more, if there is such a thing. Because it’s our responsibility to find out.

“There are things that happen that obviously our owner is not going to know and would never know, because he shouldn’t. If Ken [Kendrick] is down in the dugout knowing what’s going on during games, we’ve got problems. And that’s me, too. If I’m down there, we’ve got big issues. But you have to have such a strong communication line and honesty and transparency where you feel comfortable that you are following the rules.”

Hall said D-backs general manager Mike Hazen is good at enforcing MLB’s rules on this issue, which Hall said were made clear after 2017. Still, Hall himself had questions for his own team after the Astros scandal became known.

“Look, there’s going to be times where, I think, every team is going to be accused or questioned,” Hall said. “It’s an interesting world we live in and there’s been times where we’ve had to answer questions based on something that someone may have seen in the dugout and it’s perfectly innocent, but you should go through that process of showing the documentation and answering questions. The league should take it upon themselves to go question each and every scenario to make sure that there is integrity, honesty and legitimacy.”

Hall didn’t name a specific incident that caused the D-backs to have to “answer questions,” but there was an incident in 2017 in which assistant coach Ariel Prieto wore a smart watch in the dugout during a game. He and the team were fined an undisclosed amount.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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