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The Astros' Jose Altuve during a press conference in West Palm Beach. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Houston Astros are very sorry for cheating their way to a World Series win, even as their owner bizarrely flip-flopped on whether their cheating changed any games.

Why it matters: The sign-stealing scandal is among the biggest since the steroid era, spilling over into other clubs and giving MLB some nasty publicity.

What they're saying in Florida, where the Astros are beginning spring training:

  • 3B/SS Alex Bregman: “I am really sorry about the choices that were made by our team, the organization and by me."
  • 2B José Altuve: "We had a great team meeting last night and the whole organization and the team feels bad about what happened in 2017. We especially feel remorse for our fans and for the game of baseball."
  • Owner Jim Crane: “Our opinion is this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series, and we’ll leave it at that."
  • Less than a minute later, Crane said, "I didn't say it didn't impact the game."

Between the lines: The Astros' flexibility with the rules "was an open secret," the WashPost reports, citing people across all levels of the sport.

  • “The whole industry knows they’ve been cheating their a---- off for three or four years,” a team exec told the Post. “Everybody knew it.”
  • Back in November, the Astros were exposed for sign-stealing by The Athletic, leading to an MLB probe.
  • Earlier this year, MLB fined the Astros $5 million and axed their first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. The GM and manager were suspended by MLB, then fired by the Astros.

The bottom line: The bill has come due for bad behavior, a trend that mirrors the rise of accountability demands across our culture — even as some of the worst actors skate on by.

Go deeper: Inside the Astros' front office's sign stealing operation

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
40 mins ago - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Who benefits from Biden's move to reopen ACA enrollment

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Nearly 15 million Americans who are currently uninsured are eligible for coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than half of them would qualify for subsidies, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation brief.

Why it matters: President Biden is expected to announce today that he'll be reopening the marketplaces for a special enrollment period from Feb. 15 to May 15, but getting a significant number of people to sign up for coverage will likely require targeted outreach.

3 hours ago - Technology

Big Tech bolts politics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Big Tech fed politics. Then it bled politics. Now it wants to be dead to politics. 

Why it matters: The social platforms that profited massively on politics and free speech suddenly want a way out — or at least a way to hide until the heat cools.