After the White Sox won their game on Sunday, former Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera had some interesting comments in his post-game interview.
The 33 year old spent the first five seasons of his big league career as a Blue Jay, and these days he’s part of the AL Central champion Chicago White Sox, who are in the ALDS against the Houston Astros right now and down two games to one after their latest victory. Tepera started the season with the Cubs, but moved across town to the White Sox ahead of the July trade deadline.
When asked about their win after the game, Tepera took a shot at their ALDS opponent, potentially stirring up an old controversy in the process.
"“They’ve had a reputation of doing some sketchy stuff over there. We can say it’s a little bit of a difference. I think you saw the swings and misses tonight compared to the first two games at Minute Maid.”"
For those who don’t know what he’s referring to, the Astros are infamous for the sign-stealing scandal that took place in 2017 when they won the World Series. They had an elaborate scheme that involved cameras around the stadium, banging on trash cans to alert their hitters of coming breaking balls, and who knows what else. Understandably, there are many players around the league that haven’t forgiven them for these infractions, even if many of the current Astros weren’t even on the team in 2017 (George Springer now plays for the Blue Jays, for example).
Is there any merit to what Tepera has to say? Honestly, I sincerely doubt it. I’m sure that every team around the game is looking for an edge wherever they can find it, but it would be incredibly foolish of the Astros to try anything right now that’s against the rules. In many ways the organization got off lucky with a pretty light punishment after the last controversy, and the league office would have no choice but to take things up a notch if they were caught doing something illegal again.
Between the sign-stealing scandal from the Astros (and who knows how many other teams) and this year’s “sticky stuff” controversy, it’s clear that baseball is finally starting to do some work to clean up the game. I’m sure Tepera’s comments will get some attention from the league office, but more likely, the veteran reliever was likely trying to play some mind games with their playoff opponent. At this level of professional sports, that’s all part of the fun too.