Despite all of the negative attention the Astros have received for their sign stealing scandal, the person who made everyone aware of the cheating is also receiving hate.
Mike Fiers, who played for the Astros from 2015-17, revealed Thursday he has received death threats for whistleblowing on his former team. Fiers, who played for the Tigers in 2018 and is now with the A's, told The San Francisco Chronicle he is not too worried about the threats.
"Whatever, I don’t care," Fiers said. "I’ve dealt with a lot of death threats before. It’s just another thing on my plate.”
Fiers was the one who told The Athletic in November that the Astros were using outfield cameras to steal signs during the 2017 season. Houston ended up winning the World Series that season, which has elevated the severity of the cheating.
A day before his interview with the Chronicle was published, Fiers provided quotes to The Athletic saying he wasn't too concerned about getting hit by opponents' pitches.
"I’m not asking for extra security. I’m here to play baseball and I can defend myself, if anything," he told The Athletic. "We do have National League games, and I’m going to have to get into the box (to hit) just like everybody else. It’s part of the game. If they decide to throw at me, then they throw at me. There’s nothing much you can do about it.
"I’ve dealt with a lot in my life. I’ve dealt with people hating me before. I’ve dealt with a lot of life problems. It is what it is. And if someone’s going to retaliate then by hitting me with a pitch, it’s not a big deal.”
On Tuesday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred addressed Fiers' safety: We will take every possible step to protect Mike Fiers wherever he’s playing, whether it’s in Houston or somewhere else."
In addition to the safety issue, Fiers also addressed a common complaint he has received — that he benefited from the cheating, earning a World Series ring from the year the Astros were using their sign-stealing system; and that he didn't say anything until after he was gone from the team. One of the people with that mindset is MLB legend David Ortiz, who talked to media Thursday.
"I'm mad at this guy, the pitcher who came out talking about it," Ortiz said, referencing Fiers. "And let me tell you why. Oh, after you make your money, after you get your (World Series) 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 wasn't responding to Ortiz directly, but his comment to the Chronicle addresses this topic.
“I said from the beginning, ‘I’m not away from this. I was part of that team, I was one of those guys.' Suspensions, fines — I’m willing to take as much punishment as they do. If they ask me to (return the ring), it’s not the end of the world," Fiers said. “I couldn’t tell you why (I didn't say anything). We were all in a weird spot. Everyone was in a weird spot.”
As for Manfred, he supports Fiers' decision to say something.
“I want to be really clear about this: Mike, who I do not know at all, did the industry a service,” Manfred said. “I do believe we will be a better institution when we emerge at the end of this episode, and without a Mike Fiers, we probably would have a very difficult time cleaning this up. I think we would have done it eventually, but it would have taken a lot longer.
"I have a real problem with anyone who suggests that Mike did anything but the right thing.”