Sport Carlos Correa doesn't hide from the Astros sign-stealing scandal. He defies it to define him
Astros owner: 'I think we have a chance' to keep All-Star SS Carlos Correa
Carlos Correa entering free agency in his prime and is coming off a year in which he hit .279 with a career-high 26 home runs. He certainly hasn’t done anything to hurt his value in 2021.Subscribe to Yardbarker's Morning Bark, the most comprehensive newsletter in sports. Customize your email to get the latest news on your favorite sports, teams and schools. Emailed daily. Always free! Sign up now ▸More must-reads:Astros owner Jim Crane discusses Carlos Correa, Justin Verlander, Yuli Gurriel, Dusty BakerAstros announce ALDS roster, Lance McCullers Jr.
Of all the unknowns that still swirl around the cheating scandal that consumed the Houston Astros in late 2019 and early 2020, the most inexplicable has nothing to do with trash cans, stolen signs, suspensions or the lack thereof.
See, the 2020 Astros came into spring training having recently fired GM Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch over their roles in the scheme that tarnished the 2017 World Series. With players left untouched by MLB’s penalties but under a rare form of public attack from their usually subdued brethren, the first thing the intact Astros had to do was stage a public apology.
So in mid-February,. Team owner Jim Crane, new manager Dusty Baker and two Houston stars slogged through a painful, .
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Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman each read carefully crafted statements, looking wildly uncomfortable (understandably), and then shuffled back to the clubhouse to really drive home the point that they had suffered no consequences besides the PR hit that, apparently, barely budged them beyond a monotone recital of platitudes.
And here’s where the mystery comes in. Days, weeks, years later, every moment I have watched the Astros I have wondered more: How in the world was Carlos Correa not on that dais?
Correa spearheads Astros' ALCS Game 1 win
The sign-stealing scandal is top of mind again this week because the Astros and their former bench coach, now-Red Sox manager Alex Cora, are at the top of the game again. Houston and Boston began their American League Championship Series clash Friday night technically untouched by the scandal’s tentacles, but still undeniably shrouded by its lingering haze of doubt.
Why the Astros Are So Dangerous in the Postseason
Carlos Correa's clutch double off Craig Kimbrel is the biggest of many reminders of why Houston succeeds in October View the original article to see embedded media.HOUSTON – This is a story that helps explain why the Astros are one win from their fifth straight American League Championship Series, and why they have a .584 postseason winning percentage since 2015, when Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve first hung their shingle over the middle infield. It is also a story of why experience matters in the cauldron of October.
But on the field, the game has a way of breaking through. Countering an offensive barrage from scorching hot Red Sox center fielder Kiké Hernández in Game 1,with the truest type of no-doubt home run — the kind where no one watches the ball land.
CARLOS CORREA KNEW THIS BALL WAS GONE ????
THE ASTROS TAKE THE LEAD ‼️
(via— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) )
Instead, all eyes were still fixed on Correa, who emphatically dropped his bat at the plate and tapped his wrist in a magnetic show of force.
“It’s my time,” he yelled to the team that he visibly leads.
Earlier this week, he verbally parried away, and then used his bat to further dispel reliever Ryan Tepera’s theory by piling on to the Astros’ run total in Chicago’s home park. Ultimately, they dropped 10 of them, on the road, without the supposed aid, to sink the White Sox.
The Astros are here to play the villains in the World Series. They are also here to win
The Houston Astros have been at their best this postseason when they’re down to their final out of an inning. Winning three straight after falling down 2-1 in the American League Championship Series — ugly losses, too, bad enough that people started to count out a proven division winner against a flawed wild-card team — showcased similar resilience. There are two ways for an unbiased viewer to appreciate the Astros’ continued success in the wake of revelations about baseball’s biggest team cheating scandal in a century. (Three, if you enjoy yelling obscenities and tweeting trash can emojis.
And in the raucous reaction to the homer that turned Game 1, he added to a bigger body of evidence, one that would seem to indicate he and his teammates might just be a historic force that no magnification of the trash-can scheme can totally discredit. Correa is now the leader in postseason RBIs among active players, at age 27. He’s been especially unstoppable on the October stage since the sign-stealing scandal added an unspoken challenge behind each series, each pitch.
Entering Friday’s game, Correa had played 17 postseason games since the scandal burst into public view. He was batting .367 and slugging .717 with six homers and 21 RBIs even before the pivotal blast.
What’s more, he has seemed aware of the stakes, keen to point out the times when the black mark of 2017 doesn’t stick to him or his teammates now, no matter how much it sticks in people’s heads.
“I know a lot of people are mad,”. “I know a lot of people don’t want to see us here. But what are they gonna say now?”
How Correa came to speak for Astros
Days after that PR disaster of a PR event, Correa spoke to Ken Rosenthal for a TV interview and rattled off a series of soundbites that included far more genuine-seeming expressions of remorse, and also revelatory details from inside the heavily scrutinized clubhouse.
Houston Astros cheating scandal summary: Complete timeline of events
The infamous sign-stealing scandal of 2017 continues to be a black eye on the Houston Astros organization. Though the Houston Astros have won the American League for the third time in five years, they are still paying for the wrongdoings of the 2017 sign-stealing scandal that culminated in them w inning their first World Series in franchise history. While stealing signs is not technically illegal in baseball, it is frowned upon. Though it would serve every ballclub to get a competitive edge wherever they can, using technology to college other team's signs is a huge issue.
“We want to go out and show the fans that we're talented, we can play the game and we can win ballgames: that what happened in 2017 does not define us.” -to
Full ???? -— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork)
He defended Altuve, claiming the 2017 AL MVP didn’t even utilize the stolen signs. He matter-of-factly listed several other players who were not willing participants — his own not among them.
And he debuted the measured defiance that has come to resonate as an unofficial credo around an Astros team that has now run its string of ALCS appearances to five straight.
In those early days and with each new flare-up, Correa has largely addressed the Astros’ ethical failings with an appropriate mix of reflection and school-yard-style resistance. The scheme was brazen and way, way over the line in the world of professional competition, but its gravity pales in comparison to— — that , thrills and vicarious pride.
When the scandal recedes into the background
Here’s what Correa seemingly understands as well as anyone: He’s not the name on the back of his jersey, nor is he a representative of the name on the front. It’s always intertwined. Astros fans will love his bold us-against-the-world style as long as he’s got Houston on his chest, and many will find the same qualities unbearable if he dons a new uniform in free agency this offseason.
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USA TODAY columnist says that while he can’t stop the tomahawk chop or make Atlanta change its name, he can stop acknowledging the nickname.Their mascot was offensive, so it was booted.
Sports fandom doesn’t separate the athlete from the laundry. It ceases to recognize one without the other. On my team? Superman. On your team? Some obnoxious guy named Clark Kent.
No level of groveling apology was going to turn down the heat on the Astros in the spring of 2020. It may also be that no level of hitting prowess under the microscope will convince jaundiced observers of Correa’s or Altuve’s independent greatness. They are both on track to force some extremely interesting Hall of Fame votes in addition to rewriting the postseason record books.
The casual confidence that has made Correa the face of the post-scandal Astros is probably also what kept him out of the apology parade. He’s never allowed himself to be subsumed by the idea of the baseball scarlet letter. He has instead seemed to take it in, like a notch on his belt, as one of the experiences that explains him — knowing that interpretations and allegiances will change as he hits go-ahead homers in the ALCS or perhaps changes teams.
In acknowledging the furor but refusing to be suppressed by it, Correa relates to the scandal only for what it really is at this point: Nothing that’s going to stop him from having his moment.
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