The baseball world waited with anticipation Friday. Mike Fiers, the whistleblower whose comments sparked Major League Baseball's investigation into the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme, was scheduled to speak publicly for the first time since telling all to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Let’s just say it wasn’t what most people were expecting or hoping for.
Fiers, citing his desire to move on and not create a distraction for his current team, the Oakland Athletics, elected to address the matter by not addressing it at all.
Mike Fiers doesn’t actually address the Astros cheating scandal. Says he doesn’t want to be a distraction to the team and he is focusing on baseball.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) January 25, 2020
The 34-year-old right-hander has been commended by some and chastised by others for blowing the whistle on his former team. Fiers was part of the Astros rotation from 2015-2017. His final season in Houston earned him a World Series championship ring. It’s also when Fiers says the Astros were illegally stealing catchers’ signs using a live video feed, a television monitor, a bat and a trash can.
The league immediately launched an investigation and ultimately found enough evidence to hand down a harsh penalty. Manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were each suspended for the entire 2020 season. Owner Jim Crane quickly fired both as a result. The Astros also lost their top two picks in the next two drafts and were fined $5 million.
It’s been speculated that Fiers agreed to not speak publicly on the matter after providing the essential initial testimony.
One thing to keep in mind: Fiers essentially provided whistleblower testimony to MLB and the league may well have asked him to not speak publicly about the matter as a result.— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) January 25, 2020
Earlier on Friday, Dallas Keuchel became the first player from Houston’s 2017 squad to publicly apologize for his team’s actions. Though in doing so, he was also clearly determined to express his disappointment that Fiers’ “broke a clubhouse rule” by speaking out.
Fiers did receive support from A’s general manager David Forst after making his brief statement.
A’s GM David Forst on Fiers: “Frankly I think what Mike did was brave. I think when all is said and done he should be lauded for what he did. I think the majority of players in the game will look back on what he did and appreciate it.”— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) January 25, 2020
Despite Fiers’ silence, this story clearly isn’t going away anytime soon. More questions will be asked. More questions will be dodged. And the cycle will repeat.
The next dates to circle might be March 30 through April 1. That’s when the Astros travel to Oakland to face the A’s for the first time since the scandal grabbed the headlines. It’s possible Mike Fiers will pitch one of those games.
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