'Every single' Houston Astros player 'needs a beating,' Braves outfielder Nick Markakis says

Houston Astros players need to experience some retaliation for their role in the cheating scandal, Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis said Tuesday.

Markakis, who played 119 games for the Braves last season and hit .285 with nine home runs, told reporters that the Astros players, who escaped punishment, need a “beating”.

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“I feel like every single guy over there needs a beating,” he said. “It’s wrong. They’re messing with people’s careers.”

The veteran added: “I think the punishing, I think everything has been handled the wrong way. You got players who did it [who got off] scot-free. I know there is a lot of political stuff behind it, but it’s wrong. We don’t want to see that. Everybody’s out there competing and trying to do things the right way.”

The Astros were fined $5 million, stripped of top draft picks for the next two seasons and manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for the season. Both were subsequently fired, while the fallout also claimed the jobs of Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and newly appointed New York Mets managers Carlos Beltran. Cora was bench coach for the Astros in 2017, while Beltran was a player.

The players, however, were granted immunity for participating in the investigation. Markakis believes they got off “pretty easy.”

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“I know as players, we do not agree with what they did, we don’t stand behind them and never will we support them for their actions,” Markakis said. “I think they got off pretty easy. They’re going to be able to go out there and compete with no ramifications at all, which is wrong. I think the commissioner completely handled it the wrong way, but that’s the way he did it. And that’s the way we’ve got to live with it. But I know a lot of people disagree with him and the way he handled the situation, he should be embarrassed with himself.”

Markakis said he has an issue with how the cheating affected other players’ careers.

“It angers you, especially from a guy who has played the game the right way his whole career,” he said. “No shortcuts. I know how hard this game is, I know how hard preparing for this game is. To see something like that is damaging to baseball.

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“What they did was bulls–t. They took a lot of opportunities away from people and possibly ruined people’s careers. Like I said, we’re all competitive. We want to compete and win. But when you take it to that level, there is no excuse. Like I said, bulls–t. They should have some ramifications for what they did.”

Astros manager Dusty Baker – who was chosen to replace A.J. Hinch – took issue with Markakis’ comments, according to the Houston Chronicle.

“That’s cool,” Baker said. “I ain’t commenting on everybody’s comments. Go ahead. You want to beat on us, go ahead.

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“I didn’t think Markakis talked too much. He doesn’t. OK, maybe he had his Wheaties.”