The KTLA "Astros Cheater" desciption for José Altuve.

The Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal saw further developments Thursday with a bunch of rather ineffective apologies from players Alex Bregman and José Altuve and owner Jim Crane, but what was even more notable was the reaction of Los Angeles CW affiliate KTLA. Crane’s comments included him saying the cheating “didn’t impact the game” and that “We won the World Series, and we’ll leave it at that.” That 2017 World Series win came against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and that perhaps explains why KTLA ran a report that starts with “After stealing the 2017 World Series from the Dodgers and eventually getting caught, the Houston Astros’ players are finally saying they’re sorry,” and includes “Astros Cheater” lower third descriptions for Altuve and Bregman during segments of their speech:

That includes a lot of further snark, including a wrap-up of “So play without integrity, cheat, you win the trophy, and ‘We’re sorry! We’re going to move on!’ The ring, the bonus checks, a bunch of cheaters. We’re moving on, we’re not going to get stuck in this. And you’d better move along with us.” “And baseball says it’s okay to cheat! You still get the trophy!”

That is quite the level of editorializing, and it’s clear what side of this saga KTLA falls on. And while we’ve seen petty lower thirds before, as with “Known Cheater” Tom Brady (on Pittsburgh CBS affiliate KDKA last January), that one was a one-employee effort that saw the employee in question fired, with a station statement of “While fans are entitled to have personal opinions, we have a journalistic responsibility to provide unbiased reporting. The graphic that appeared Monday violated our news standards.” Given the overall tone of the report here, this seems like much more than one person, so apparently KTLA’s news standards are fine with “Astros cheater” labels (although, really, “Astros’ cheater” would seem more grammatical) and claims that the team stole the World Series.

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About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.