WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Kurt Suzuki wasn’t expecting to find himself in the middle of the war of words between the Astros and players around the majors who are now blasting the 2017 champs for cheating by illegally stealing signs.
But when the Nationals catcher was quoted in The Washington Post saying he believed the Astros were still cheating during the 2019 World Series - “We could hear it from their dugout. We heard their whistling.” - he suddenly was thrust into the fray and earned the wrath of Carlos Correa.
“The commissioner’s report clearly says in 2019 nothing happened,” Correa, the Houston shortstop, told reporters Saturday. “Just straight-up baseball players with talent playing the game of baseball. And you have the audacity to tell reporters that ‘they were cheating, because we heard whistles?’ The fans whistle during the game. The fans are whistling all the game in the game. What does a whistle mean?
“So don’t go out there and tell reporters that we were cheating, and don’t go above MLB, the investigation, the lawyers, the report when obviously there was nothing going on. 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.”
Presented an opportunity today to respond to Correa, Suzuki actually took the Astros star’s advice and said he’s just trying to enjoy the Nationals’ title run. He wouldn’t throw himself back into the fray.
“Honestly, I’m too old to get in the middle,” the 36-year-old catcher said. “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 just try to get ready to play baseball.”
Though Major League Baseball’s official report on the scandal said there was no corroborating evidence the Astros illegally stole signs in 2019, the Nationals knew their reputation going into the World Series and proactively took drastic steps to try to prevent their opponents from figuring out what pitches were being thrown.
“You hear stuff around the league,” Suzuki said. “All you do is do your due diligence and you try to prepare yourselves to not get into that situation. We just did our homework on that end and did everything we possibly can to combat the rumors that were going around. We just prepared ourselves. That was the bottom line. It was just getting ready for it, in case it did happen.”
Whether Houston’s players were cheating last fall or not, the Nationals’ Game 7 victory made it moot. It also gave folks from Washington reason to breathe a sigh of relief when commissioner Rob Manfred’s report came out last month, knowing they didn’t have to wonder if they’d been denied a championship for nefarious reasons.
“We won,” Suzuki said. “I guess it makes our World Series feel that much better. Whatever was going on or not, it made it feel that much better to be able to win.”