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Astros owner insists sign-stealing ‘didn’t impact the game’

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Houston Astros owner Jim Crane believes his team’s illegal sign-stealing scheme in 2017 didn’t affect results on the field.

Crane fielded a number of questions about the scandal on Thursday while meeting with reporters at the team’s spring training complex. Among those, he was asked what he would say to the New York Yankees, who were eliminated by the Astros in the 2017 American League Championship Series.

“The Yankees have had a few comments out there. Our opinion is this didn’t impact the game,” Crane said. “We had a good team. We won the World Series and we’ll leave it at that.”

While Crane did admit that Houston “broke the rules,” he agreed with Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred that his team should not vacate its 2017 World Series title.

Crane also insisted that he wasn’t aware of the sign-stealing operation and that he shouldn’t be punished as a result.

“Clearly, (MLB’s) report states that I didn’t know about it,” Crane said. “Had I known about it, I’d have done something about it. … No, I don’t think I should be held accountable.”

An MLB investigation into the Astros this offseason found the 2017 team illegally used electronics to steal signs from opponents and relayed them to hitters using trash cans. As a result, the league fined the Astros $5 million, stripped them of draft picks, and suspended manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for one year each. Both Hinch and Luhnow were subsequently fired by Crane.

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