SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — There are few people in the world who had a better view to the cheating scandal that has enveloped MLB than Stephen Vogt.
For 54 games in 2017, the veteran catcher was an Oakland Athletic, a frustrated division rival of the to-be World Series champs. Vogt was DFA’d and wound up in Milwaukee midseason but played six games against Houston that year and knew something was going on.
It’s a strange feeling to both be stunned and unsurprised.
“I just can’t believe it. I’m still in shock. I can’t fathom how anyone could do that and just be OK with it,” the former Giant and current Diamondback told KNBR on Thursday from Salt River Fields.
Houston has been at the center of the storm that broke with a story in The Athletic in which former Houston pitcher Mike Fiers said the team was using video and monitors to steal opponents’ signs. An MLB investigation found the team had cheated throughout the ’17 season and playoffs en route to winning the World Series.
Vogt is one of the better-known and more-respected leaders in the game. He said he remembers “feeling like they knew was what coming” that season. Among the lower-profile victims of the operation are opposing catchers, who are judged by their calling of games, who try to make sure they’re not tipping pitches.
Vogt wasn’t lining up incorrectly; the Astros just had an easy, camera-enabled view of his pitch selection.
“I was surprised at how blatant it was. That was my only surprise,” said the 35-year-old. “Just to what extent they were doing it. We all kind of figured and assumed something was happening. But I didn’t realize how blatant it was.”
The question around the industry has entailed how everyone could have gone along with the scheme. Even those who didn’t participate allowed their teammates to and wound up with World Series rings.
What would Vogt’s numbers look like if he knew what pitch was coming?
“I don’t even want to talk about that. It’s something that would never and could never happen in my world,” Vogt said.
“I want to believe I would have said something. I don’t know.”