Since the Yankees reported to Spring Training over the past week in Tampa, Fla., players have naturally been asked about the Astros' electronic sign-stealing scandal.
Yankees CF Aaron Hicks became the latest to do so Wednesday, and he didn't hold back on his stance when speaking with SNY contributor Sweeny Murti.
Hicks -- who faced the Astros in New York's 2017 and '19 ALCS losses, which respectively went seven and six games -- echoed his teammates' sentiments from the past few days when he expressed frustration with Houston's cheating.
"It's just kind of disappointing," Hicks said. "You feel like you're on even playing grounds and you lose a heartbreaker in Game 7 and we try to do everything we can do to win ballgames and find out they've been cheating. It's kind of one of those things where it just doesn't sit well.
"The whole point of getting to the big leagues is to compete against the best on an even playing field. Whatever team is better is how it's supposed to be. But to cheat to win -- it's kind of one of those things where I just don't understand it."
MLB's Jan. 13 investigative report found that the Astros used a live camera from center field to steal signs against opposing teams and relay them in real time for hitters at the plate. The league found that the Astros used a trash can-banging scheme in 2017, the regular season and the playoffs, before continuing a different relay form for at least part of 2018.
Since the Astros' cheating went public, players around MLB have been candid on the topic upon reporting to Spring Training. The Yankees have been at the forefront of the candid comments, with OFs Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge among those to say directly Tuesday and Wednesday that the Astros aren't truly remorseful and they should have their 2017 World Series stripped.
Aaron Judge says the Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title:- Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) February 18, 2020
"It doesn't hold any value, it wasn't earned" pic.twitter.com/adbZDYEPlq
While the league granted Astros players immunity from disciplinary action, players around MLB -- including the Yankees -- have called the lack of suspensions into question. Even though MLBPA executive director Tony Clark defended the association's decision to protect the Astros players from facing consequences, Hicks took issue with this circumstance as one that "went against our code."
"Of course, with the Players Association, we want the best protection possible," Hicks said. "But I feel like that goes against our code and what we want to do, as far as, 'This is how we make a living.' And to be able to cheat kind of goes against why we're here in the first place. We're here to compete against the best of all teams.
"And to find out a guy's cheating to get ahead, to ultimately win the World Series, just leaves a lot of uncertainty about we could've been that team win the World Series. I definitely feel like our team was strong enough to do that because, obviously, we played against them, went all the way to Game 7 -- playing against them not knowing they've been cheating the whole time."