Collin McHugh and his teammates on the Houston Astros’ pitching staff knew the hitters were up to no good but did nothing to stop it. For that, McHugh has some regret.
The former Astros pitcher, who spent six seasons with Houston, signed with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. As he settles in with his new club, it allows him the opportunity to reflect on his time with Houston which coincided with one of the biggest cheating scandals in sport’s history. The fallout from the Astros’ cheating in 2017 shows no real end in sight, and McHugh admitted he wished he had done more to bring it to an end sooner.
“You’ve got to be willing to stick up for what you believe in and what you believe is right and what you believe is wrong,” McHugh told reporters Friday, per ESPN.com. “And I think a lot of the guys on that team, including myself, are looking back now and wishing we had been as brave in the moment as we thought we were beforehand.”
Of course, none of that happened. Instead, it took another former Astros pitcher, Mike Fiers, blowing the lid off the whole thing by exposing the Astros’ electronic cheating ways to The Athletic. An MLB investigation followed, and three managers — A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran — lost their jobs stemming from their roles in the matter.
Meanwhile, the Astros have become a punching bag for the rest of the sport, as opposing players have lined up to take their verbal jabs in a previously unprecedented rash of on-the-record criticism.
“To put myself in the shoes of the guys who pitched against us in 2017 and to know that our hitters made that job much harder that year — it’s hard to swallow,” McHugh continued, per ESPN.com. “And I feel for them and I understand the anger and I understand when people are mad and pissed off. I get it. I’ve been there. I know what it feels like to be out there and feel like a team has your signs. It’s a lonely place.”
McHugh also explained how the Astros internally rationalized their scandalous behavior.
“We truly believed — or we were made to believe — that it was happening to us, too. And we don’t know if that was true or not, but that’s not justification for doing anything. Just because you think they’re doing it is not justification for doing something you know is not right.”
Coincidentally, McHugh’s new team is waiting to hear its discipline for separate cheating allegations. A separate report from The Athletic accused the Red Sox of improperly using the video room to steal pitchers’ signs during the 2018 season. MLB’s investigation is ongoing, but a conclusion should be near.