Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis ratcheted up the aggressive criticism of the Houston Astros on Tuesday, calling for a “beating” for players cheating the game.
“It’s anger. I feel like every single guy over there needs a beating. It’s wrong,” Markakis said when asked for his reaction to the sign-stealing scandal. “They’re messing with people’s careers.”
Markakis is entering his 15th season and hasn’t faced the Houston Astros since 2017. That’s the year the team was found to have used a trash can to signal what pitch was coming to batters at the plate.
Markakis said he’s also disappointed that the actions were “damaging to baseball” and felt commissioner Rob Manfred could have handed down punishment to players for the wrongdoing.
The Astros were fined, manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended — and subsequently fired — and the team lost a draft pick.
But the venomous reaction around baseball indicates Houston could have a problem on its hands all season. William Hill Sportsbook set the over-under for Astros hit by a pitch at 83.5.
Markakis, who echoed sentiments from Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger and American League MVP Mike Trout, said the Astros got off “scot-free” and Manfred didn’t take the matter seriously enough.
“The way he handled the situation, he should be embarrassed of himself,” Markakis said.