Tigers’ A.J. Hinch on controversial managerial history: ‘I understand how wrong it was’
Specifically, what has Hinch learned since his one-season ban over his role – or lack thereof – in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal? He addressed the issue during his press conference.
“It’s been a large topic in my life, as I’ve reflected back and learned to grow and ultimately to decompress from something that was very wrong,” Hinch said of the scandal.
“As I told [chairman Chris] Ilitch and [general manager Al Avila] both, that’s part of my story. That’s not the Tigers’ story. And I understand the question and I understand how wrong it was. And I’m sorry for that. I’ve said that before. I’ll say it again. I’ll continue to say it. I’ll never forget the feeling that I’ve had throughout the past year as I’ve navigated through this with my family.
Hinch added that he was “sorry” the players for his new team will have to deal with those questions as well.
“… I’m sorry that they’re going to have to deal with it and that we’re going to have to talk about it. But that is our reality, because wrong is wrong. And it was very wrong. And I’ll make sure that everybody knows that I feel responsible because I was the manager and it was on my watch and I’ll never forget it,” he added.
While with the Astros, Hinch reportedly knew some of the egregious scheme and took a bat to one of the TV monitors the employees were using. Even with that, he still got the one-season ban and was let go by the Astros.
Hinch apologized in January for his role.
Houston came under intense scrutiny late last year when former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers and other unnamed sources revealed to The Athletic that the team used a sophisticated system to steal signs given by an opposing team’s catcher to his pitcher.
Houston allegedly had a camera set up in centerfield, which was hooked up to a monitor in the clubhouse, and when a sign for an off-speed pitch was given, a team employee would relay the message to a hitter with loud banging in the dugout.
Two sources told The Athletic that the sign-stealing extended into the postseason in 2017, but another denied it went on that long.
Houston won the World Series in 2017, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.
The Tigers lauded Hinch for his baseball acumen. He was 481-329 in five seasons with the Astros.
Detroit has been one of the worst teams in baseball but has a deep prospect pipeline that could see the team improve dramatically in a couple of years.