Cubs star Kris Bryant rips cheating Astros for high-tech sign-stealing: ‘It’s worse than steroids’

“If they didn’t get caught they’d still be doing it,” he said. “They’re only [apologizing] because they got caught. I know everybody around the league is really upset and rightfully so because it’s really a disgrace to the game.”

SHARE Cubs star Kris Bryant rips cheating Astros for high-tech sign-stealing: ‘It’s worse than steroids’

Kris Bryant avoids banging a nearby trash can as he signs autographs for fans Saturday on his first day at camp.

John Antonoff photo

MESA, Ariz. — Kris Bryant blasted the cheating Astros when asked Saturday about the scandal over electronic sign-stealing and this week’s fallout over players’ and team officials’ “apologies.”

“What a disgrace that was,” Bryant said — one year before the Astros’ 2017 title that benefitted from a trash-can-banging system of relaying electronically stolen catcher signs.

“I was watching their apology [Friday], too. There’s no sincerity, there’s no genuineness when it comes to it. I certainly know if I messed up big in that way, I’d be the first one to let you know just how big of a mess-up it was. It’s just hard to believe.

“A lot of the apology was a lot about 2017. I’m pretty sure it was going on in 2018 and 2019, too. That’s just so sad. If they didn’t get caught, they’d still be doing it. They’re only doing this apology because they got caught. I know everybody around the league is really upset, and rightfully so, because it’s really a disgrace to the game.”

Bryant, who said he “totally believes” the theory the Astros advanced to a buzzer system last year, said players “absolutely” should have been punished instead of getting immunity from the commissioner’s office for their cooperation in the investigation.

“I thought the whole punishment was weak. They got fined, what, five million bucks? With the price of beers at games now, you make that really quick.”

When told that was the maximum fine allowed, he said, “Well, then, that needs to change, too.”

Added Bryant: “This is people’s livelihoods, too, that they’re messing with. Guys never pitched in games since then. Guys have won awards that maybe they shouldn’t have won, who knows?”

Bryant’s reaction was the strongest yet from the Cubs’ clubhouse.

“I personally think it’s worse than steroids,” he said. “Steroids you still have to compete and hit the ball. When you know it’s coming, I mean, off guys throwing upper 90s with really good curveballs and sliders, you can totally formulate an unbelievable game plan based on certain things if you know what’s coming.

“They’re going to have a tough year this year for sure.”

Maybe even a painful one, with pitchers taking pounds of flesh back.

“I’m sure they will. Pitchers aren’t happy about it,” Bryant said. “I obviously don’t want anybody to get hurt, but I think if teams are going about it in the right way and if you’re not going after people’s heads and stuff like that. . . . I think they’re definitely going to experience some of that this year.”

Note: Infielder Jason Kipnis, the two-time All-Star from Northbrook who was signed to a minor-league deal, arrived in camp Saturday and is expected to start working out Sunday — a day ahead of the first official full-squad practices.

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