Former Astros manager AJ Hinch spoke publicly about the Astros sign-stealing scandal for the first time since being suspended for a year by the Commissioner's office and subsequently fired by the Houston Astros.
In a sit-down interview with MLB Network's Tom Verducci, Hinch spoke about a number of topics, from how much personal accountability he feels, whether or not the Astros 2017 World Series title is tainted, and whether or not the Astros players were wearing buzzers in 2019.
Here are the main takeaways from what Hinch had to say…
On Hinch's personal accountability
"It happened on my watch. I'm not proud of that. I'll never be proud of it. I didn't like it, but I have to own it, because in a leadership position - I mean the Commissioner's office made it very clear - the GM and the manager were in position to make sure that nothing like this happened, and we fell short."
"I felt responsible from the beginning so I knew there was going to be punishment. If you feel responsible as a leader, punishment is going to happen. I didn't know to what extent. I didn't know where the commissioner was going to come in on it. … I knew I was going to be suspended to some extent."
"I still feel responsible and I'll always feel responsible as the man out front." - A.J. Hinch- MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 7, 2020
Watch the entire exclusive interview with A.J. Hinch here: https://t.co/LQH8iAEBGD pic.twitter.com/oUVAPUYeLN
On players taking some accountability
"I just know as the manager, I have to hold myself to that high standard, and that accountability, and that apology … because I was the manager. So, I don't know how everyone is going to handle it. I haven't spent a lot of time on others. I've been so focused on making sure that I stand up as the manager, that it was on my watch, and truly let people know that I'm sorry."
On whether the 2017 Astros' World Series title is tainted
"It's a fair question, and I think everyone is going to have to draw their own conclusion. I hope over time and the demonstration with the talents of this team, the players, the careers that are being had, we had some of the best players in the entire sport all together on the same team. I hope over time it's proven that it wasn't (tainted), but I understand the question.
"Unfortunately, we opened that door as a group, and that question may never be answered. We may never know. We're going to have to live and move forward and be better in the sport, but unfortunately no one can really answer that question. I can't pinpoint what advantages or what exactly would have happened otherwise, but we did it to ourselves."
On whether or not the Astros players were wearing buzzers in 2019
"We got investigated for three months, and the Commissioner's office did as thorough an investigation as anyone could imagine was possible. I know he mentioned the emails and the texts and the messages, and I believe them."
On facing questions about sign-stealing at Yankee Stadium during 2019 ALCS
"We had played a couple games against the Yankees, and the issue in question was dating back to like Game 1. So I knew a little bit about it going in, and it wasn't until we got to New York when I was getting asked the question."
"When I sat at that podium, I'm going to defend this group of players, and that's my job and that's how I felt. I didn't like the line of questioning, it was uncomfortable, I came out firm. It was talking about 2019, and then when the investigation started and we started getting investigated about 2017, I know it looks bad, because it kind of gets blurry in the entire organization over the course of a few years. But I believed in what we were doing in 2019."