Mendoza: Fiers going public about sign stealing 'didn't sit well with me'
Sunday Night Baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza criticized former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers for speaking publicly about Houston's sign-stealing scheme during an appearance on "Golic and Wingo."
"Going public, yeah," Mendoza responded when asked if she had a problem with Fiers. "I mean, I get it. If you're with the Oakland A's and you're on another team, I mean, heck yeah, you better be telling your teammates: look, hey, heads up, if you hear some noises when you're pitching, this is what's going on. For sure.
"But to go public? Yeah, it didn't sit well with me. And, honestly, it made me sad for the sport that that's how this all got found out. I mean, this wasn't something that MLB naturally investigated or that even other teams complained about because they naturally heard about and then investigations happened. But it came from within. It was a player that was a part of it, that benefited from it during the regular season when he was a part of that team. And that, when I first heard about it, it hits you like any teammate would, right? It's something that you don't do ... It's hard to swallow."
When allegations of the Astros' cheating scandal first broke in early November, Fiers - now a member of the Athletics - commented publicly on how Houston implemented the sign-stealing during his tenure with the club. Fiers wound up being named in the first sentence of Major League Baseball's report on the matter, which was published Monday and resulted in the suspensions of AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow.
The Astros were accused of stealing signs this past postseason by the New York Yankees prior to MLB launching an official investigation. MLB also sent out a league-wide memo earlier in the 2019 season after the Boston Red Sox - led by former Astros bench coach Alex Cora - were accused of using technology in their dugout to steal signs against the Yankees. Cora and the Red Sox mutually parted ways Tuesday as a league investigation into that franchise continues.
"I believe it's very critical that (the sign-stealing) news was made public; I simply disagree with the manner in which that was done," Mendoza wrote. "I credit Mike Fiers for stepping forward, yet I feel that going directly through your team and/or MLB first could have been a better way to surface the information. ... I feel this way regardless of what teams, players, or managers are involved."
Mendoza's remarks came minutes after the Mets announced Carlos Beltran's decision to vacate his role as their manager due to his role in the Astros' sign-stealing scheme.
Later Thursday, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen stated that Mendoza had been speaking as an ESPN analyst and not as a member of his organization, according to Michael Mayer of Metsmerized.