The Houston Astros just want to focus on baseball. Normally, that would be a common request from teams at this point in the year, but the Astros don’t have that luxury.
After an offseason where the main storyline was the Astros’ cheating scandal, opposing players have teed off on them as camps have opened. As much as Astros players want to move on, they can’t.
So now they are getting defiant.
Despite the scandal, the Astros are still expected to be an excellent team in 2020. They would much rather focus on that. And if they can belittle their opponents in the process, that’s even better.
Outfielder Josh Reddick is among that group. He says the sign-stealing scandal will blow over once the Astros start beating teams again, according to the Washington Post.
“At some point, you have to move on and not give a s- - -,” Reddick said, adding, “We're going to go out there and win and shut everybody up.”
Pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. feels similarly, specifically calling out the most vocal critics of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.
“[The teams talking trash are] going to have to play us,” McCullers told The Washington Post. “Except for the guys who are popping off the most.
“Those guys aren’t going to have to face us, which is maybe why they feel like they can speak like that,” McCullers continued. “But we’re moving on. That’s not what people may want to hear, but we stood here as men and we addressed [the scandal]. … We’re just looking forward to playing baseball again.”
When McCullers mentions “the guys who are popping off the most,” he’s likely referring to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros beat the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series, and Dodgers players have been justifiably angry about that.
Those comments won’t go over well with the rest of the league. Opposing players are already frustrated with the Astros’ lack of punishment and remorse for their roles in the sign-stealing scandal. The Astros responding with trash talk isn’t going to help the situation.
There has been plenty of debate over how teams will respond to the Astros once regular-season games start. While the league is doing everything in its power to discourage teams from retaliating, Astros players seem motivated to keep stoking those fires.
More from Yahoo Sports: