Rob Manfred: I can’t say for ‘100 percent certain’ Astros didn’t use buzzers
Major League Baseball found no evidence of the Houston Astros cheating during the 2019 season or wearing buzzers in order to help them steal signs, but commissioner Rob Manfred admits that does not necessarily mean the accusations are a complete fabrication.
Manfred addressed the buzzer allegations in an interview with ESPN’s Karl Ravech, and the commissioner said MLB looked into that during its investigation and could not find “a single witness who could corroborate that there were buzzers being used” in 2019 or that the Astros were cheating at all that season. Manfred said he’s inclined to believe the players since they were so transparent about everything that went on during 2017 and 2018, though he admitted he can’t say for certain that there were no buzzers.
“The buzzer allegation with the tape and everything, we were fully aware of that during the investigation. … Can I tell you for 100 percent certain that it didn’t happen? No, you can never know that,” Manfred said. “People tell you what they tell you. I can tell you the evidence on this issue was as consistent in the direction that nothing was going on as the evidence was consistent in the direction that there was inappropriate behavior in ’17 and ’18.”
There have been rumors that Astros players wpre buzzers to alert them of which pitches were coming last season. The way Jose Altuve pleaded with his teammates to not tear off his jersey after he hit a walk-off home run in Game 6 of the ALCS only made people more suspicious, but Altuve quickly issued a denial. Former Houston manager AJ Hinch initially dodged a question about the buzzers but later issued a firm denial.
Obviously, the Astros have not earned the benefit of the doubt. Many fans and players still believe the buzzer allegations, and there will probably be no way to change their minds. Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki is also convinced Houston was cheating during the World Series last year, regardless of the lack of evidence.