"Everyone's gonna have to draw their own conclusions" - When former Astros manager AJ Hinch addressed concerns of club's 2017 success being 'tainted'

Former Astros Manager A.J. Hinch & 2017 World Series Celebration
Former Astros Manager A.J. Hinch & 2017 World Series Celebration

AJ Hinch and the Houston Astros took home the World Series title during the 2017 season. However, a few years later, it was revealed that the team had used electronic means to steal opposing catcher's signs.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suspended A.J. Hinch alongside general manager Jeff Luhnow in 2020, and the organization fired the two. The club was also fined $5 million.

After being fired, Hinch joined MLB reporter Tom Verducci for an interview. Verducci asked if the Astros' 2017 title was tainted and knew the public would have differing opinions.

"I think everyone's gonna have to draw their own conclusions. I hope over time, and the demonstration of the talent of this team and the players and the careers that are being had -- we have some of the best players in the entire sport all together on the same team," stated Hinch.

When reports of the sign-stealing scandal first surfaced, it wasn't very pleasant because, on paper, the Astros had a tremendous lineup. They had a core group of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Teoscar Hernandez, and George Springer.

Houston nearly had an All-Star lineup but felt they needed to get the extra advantage. It is a decision that will stick with Hinch and the rest of the players for the remainder of their careers. Many players still receive boos from opposing fans every time they step up to the plate.

AJ Hinch wishes he had a better locker room environment during his time with the Astros

Jose Altuve, AJ Hinch - Houston Astros (Image via Getty)
Jose Altuve, AJ Hinch - Houston Astros (Image via Getty)

The sign-stealing scandal first emerged from former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers. He revealed the use of video cameras to steal signs to Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic. This became the catalyst for the league's investigation into the matter.

In the interview, Verducci asked AJ Hinch how he felt after learning that Fiers was the one to get the story out, and Hinch put the blame on himself.

"I wish I would have had an environment and a culture that was better for him to have come to me in real time. I wish I could have done better, to maybe get that nudge to make better leadership decisions" said Hinch.

Hinch understands it was on him to not have a better locker room environment where players felt comfortable speaking to the manager. If he had, this whole situation may not have ever happened.

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