Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Boston Red Sox icon David Ortiz called Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers a "snitch" for reporting information that resulted in the Houston Astros being caught for illegal sign stealing.
Ortiz commented on the Astros' sign-stealing scandal at Red Sox spring training Thursday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla.
"I'm mad at this guy, the pitcher [Fiers] who came out talking about it," Ortiz told reporters. "And let me tell you why. Oh, after you make your money, after you get your ring, you decide to talk about it. Why don't you talk about it during the season when it was going on? Why didn't you say, 'I don't want to be no part of it? So you look like you're a snitch. Why you gotta talk about it after? That's my problem. Why nobody said anything while it was going on?"
Fiers played for the Astros from 2015 through 2017. A Major League Baseball investigation found in January that, at the start of the 2017 season, the Astros began using a camera-based system to steal signs from opposing teams, allowing their players to know which pitches were coming during at-bats. MLB took four draft picks from the Astros, suspended the team's manager and general manager and fined the franchise a record $5 million.
Fiers left the team in 2018 to join the Detroit Tigers. He was later traded to the Athletics. The MLB investigation began after Fiers did an interview with The Athletic, providing information on the methods Astros players used to illegal steal signs from other teams. The article was published in November. MLB later suspended Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Lunhow, before they were fired the same day.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora and New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran were also fired after they were named in the investigation. Cora was a former Astros bench coach. Beltran was a former Astros center fielder.
Ortiz also defended MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who has been criticized for his handling of the illegal practice. No former or current Astros players have been disciplined for their roles in the sign stealing operation.
"To be honest with you, I've been watching the whole thing and the commissioner has been getting so much heat like it was him that made that mistake," Ortiz said. "I don't agree with him getting all the heat and the reality is that not one player came through and was like, 'Hey, it was me that started this up.' Everyone is passing the ball like when you're playing basketball. All the commissioner can do is have the team investigate what is going on and do what he knows how to do."
Ortiz, 44, played for the Red Sox for 14 of his 20 seasons during his decorated MLB tenure. He won three World Series titles and was a 10-time All-Star. He is now a special assistant for the Red Sox.