As the fallout from the Houston Astros' cheating scandal continues to unfold, former New York Yankees starter CC Sabathia, who was a member of the team that was eliminated by the Astros in a seven game American League Championship Series in 2017, believes his team was bilked out of the world title.
Sabathia was on Showtime’s Inside The NFL on Tuesday and said that the more that is revealed about the Astros’ actions during the 2017 season, the worse he feels about the outcome.
"As everything's been coming out and the more facts that we get, it's getting frustrating, man, to sit here and know that late in my career I could've had a title, maybe '17 or maybe '18,” Sabathia said on Inside the NFL. “But we got cheated out of a team kind of doing something that's not within the rules of the game."
The 39-year-old started Game 7 of the series for the Yankees and though he pitched well, surrendering only one run and five hits in 3.1 innings, he walked three hitters and took the loss as the Astros prevailed 4-0.
The Astros had home field advantage in the series after winning 10 more games than the Yankees during the regular season and won all four games played at Minute Maid Park.
The AL West champions would go on to capture the World Series in seven games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
An investigation revealed that the Astros were using a system involving a video camera in centre field to steal signs and relay them into their dugout. They would then bang a garbage can to alert the hitters as to the type of pitch that would be thrown.
Major League Baseball punished the Astros on Monday, suspending manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for the entire 2020 season for their roles in the scandal. Both men were subsequently fired by Astros owner Jim Crane.
The team was also forced to forfeit draft picks in 2020 and 2021 and fined $5 million.
For Sabathia, the punishment is not harsh enough.
"Vacate it," Sabathia told Showtime about the 2017 championship. "I wouldn't be mad at that."
The Yankees were also eliminated by the Astros in the 2019 ALCS, Sabathia announced his retirement at the end of the season.