Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers, who exposed the Houston Astros’ method of electronically stealing signs in the 2017 season, has acknowledged receiving “threats of physical violence,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Fiers was a member of the Astros in 2017. While he said he was unconcerned about his own safety, he told the Chronicle that he does worry for his family, but sounded resigned to getting public backlash from some.
“Whatever, I don’t care,” Fiers told the newspaper. “I’ve dealt with a lot of death threats before. It’s just another thing on my plate.”
Astros outfielder Josh Reddick, who reportedly refused help from illegally obtained signs, also opened up on Friday regarding threats directed at his family.
He said he is receiving threats every day.
“You just see the first things in your suggested box and it just says: ‘I will kill your family. I will kill your kids. Blah blah blah,’” Reddick said. “It’s depressing to read because it’s over a game of baseball. It’s not worth that kind of drastic measure.”
Heading into this season, Reddick said: “It could be very dangerous outside of the ballpark to even bring your family.”
“For me, myself having almost five-month-old boys, it is going to be pretty scary, because my wife is going to go want to come on a lot of road trips just because wanting to have my help in raising them and do our parenting thing,” he said. “So it is definitely something you can think about every night.”
Boston Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez on Thursday added to the continuing controversy by saying the Red Sox were ready for the Astros in the 2018 American League Championship Series, not because former Houston bench coach Alex Cora had become their manager, but because of Fiers. Boston won the series in five games.
“Alex Cora never influenced us and never told us about that thing,” Martinez told WEEI radio show Ordway, Merloni and Fauria. “The only way I ever found out, was in the playoffs, was when Fiers, who is a really good friend of mine, reached out to me and said: ‘Hey, make sure you’re doing this because this, because this is what these guys are doing in the playoffs.’”
“I was like, ‘What? How is this a thing?’ And then I mentioned it to [Cora] and he told kind of me about the whole system and everything like that,” Martinez said. “That was kind of why it was so crazy. [Cora] was so relaxed going into those playoff games because he knew and we were ready for it.”
In a story by The Athletic on Wednesday, Fiers said he has no interest in extra security from Major League Baseball (MLB) after MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said this week that the league is concerned for the pitcher’s safety.
He also said he would be prepared on the field.
“I’m here to play baseball and I can defend myself, if anything,” Fiers told The Athletic. “We do have National League games, and I’m going to have to get into the box [to hit] just like everybody else. It’s part of the game. If they decide to throw at me, then they throw at me. There’s nothing much you can do about it.”
Fiers was 8-10 with a 5.22 earned run average in 29 appearances (28 starts) for the 2017 Astros. He did not pitch in the playoffs that year as the team went on to a championship. At 34, he is entering his 10th major league season.
If punishment for the 2017 Astros ever included handing back championship rings, one of which Fiers received, he said he would be fine with that.
“I said from the beginning, ‘I’m not away from this. I was part of that team, I was one of those guys,’” Fiers said. “Suspensions, fines — I’m willing to take as much punishment as they do. If they ask me to [return the ring], it’s not the end of the world.”
While former Red Sox player David Ortiz called Fiers a “snitch” this week, Manfred said he appreciated the pitcher’s candor about the Astros’ sign-stealing plan.
“I want to be really clear about this: Mike, who I do not know at all, did the industry a service,” Manfred said. “I do believe we will be a better institution when we emerge at the end of this episode, and without a Mike Fiers, we probably would have a very difficult time cleaning this up. I think we would have done it eventually, but it would have taken a lot longer.”
“I have a real problem with anyone who suggests that Mike did anything but the right thing,” he added.
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