When the Boston Red Sox open spring training next week, they won't face the biggest story in baseball coming out of Miami. But they'll still deal with it.
Barry Bonds was investigated in 1992, a situation Major League Baseball froze over a decade ago. And a few months ago, the sport was stunned by new revelations of two ESPN reporters who uncovered yet another list of sign-stealing players, this time from the St. Louis Cardinals. Players who were involved in the allegation were deemed not guilty.
Now MLB will attempt to determine whether the players involved (if found guilty) will be suspended, and if so, how severe.
"Hopefully the discipline they'll get is minimal," Red Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel said. "I just think it's a big overreaction. There's not too many parallels between the two. Obviously the way baseball works is very unforgiving and a lot harsher than it is in other sports.
"I just feel like there's something else going on, that MLB won't find anything. So there are certain things that have to go to figure out if this is legitimate. You've got to investigate for a long time. Then you have to break down a lot of information before you come to any kind of conclusion."
The Cardinals released a statement on Friday after ESPN released a report that named 16 players and two scouts who were involved in a database of ballparks with incomplete databases that were illegally accessed by scouts and clubhouse personnel for the use of sign-stealing. The next day, Lance Zierlein of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals had a 97% chance of finding them guilty of the charges.
Kimbrel responded to those reports on Friday.
"It's hilarious. If you're going to write about one big fat thing, write about all the little things," he said. "That's basically what it boils down to. You can say that's actually a great place to play in so I want to go there, but I don't think anyone goes to a place where they have to sign for those things. So [being there] makes no sense whatsoever. It doesn't make sense to me."
Kimbrel's Red Sox teammate, left-hander David Price, believes the current players' union is the most sympathetic it's been in the last 10 years. He said he'd love for someone with baseball's most powerful union to take on the dirty hand of baseball's commissioner when the truth comes out.
"I think a person doesn't like when they get coached up about bad things that happened," he said. "That's part of [the union] really getting back at [league]. … Players are speaking up, and it's making a change. Hopefully things move along quickly. Nobody wants to see an entire season ruined because of one stupid person stealing signs."
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