In 2017, the Houston Astros won the Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series. However, instead of winning the championship through a stellar season of baseball, many are accusing the team of winning the title as a result of cheating. The ballclub has been accused of cheating through the means of putting a camera in center field that focused on the sign the opposing catcher put down, in which a team staff member would stand in the dugout and signal to the Astros batters what pitch was coming. For example, to signal a change-up, the Astros staff member would bang on a trash can.
This scandal has opened many eyes throughout the league and has put the Houston Astros franchise in question. This is not the first time that an MLB team has been accused of cheating, as the Boston Red Sox were also accused in the 2017 season of using Apple watches to steal signs.
Former Astros World Series Champion pitcher Mike Fiers, who has since played with the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics, affirms that the team was indeed cheating. Jeff Passan of ESPN wrote in an article in which Fiers states that he made his teammates in Detroit aware of the cheating that goes on in Houston, “We had a lot of young guys with Detroit [in 2018] trying to make a name and establish themselves. I wanted to help them out and say, ‘Hey, this stuff really does go on. Just be prepared.’” As a result of the solid proof of evidence that has been presented, the league has assured that they will carry out a thorough investigation with numerous former members of the organization as well as members who are still on the team.
Now that the team has been accused, many are wondering what their consequences will be for their actions. In an article by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, he states that many MLB executives would like to see the Astros receive severe punishment as a result of their actions. He writes, “They want the Astros to pay a fortune in penalties, being fined a record amount of money, forfeiting draft picks, international signing bonuses, and two even told USA Today Sports they wish MLB would force them to vacate the 2017 World Series title.”
Regardless of what punishment the organization receives, many teams have taken precautions after the 2017 season to ensure that this does not happen again. In the 2019 World Series in which the Washington Nationals faced off against the Astros for the title, the Nationals took every precaution necessary. Barry Sryluga of The Washington Post describes the Nationals strategy to combat the cheating by saying, “First, each pitcher had to have his own set of signs. Each pitcher had five sets of signs, and they could change them from game to game– or even batter to batter if necessary. Using the set No. 2 but worried the Astros are catching on? The pitcher could signal to the catcher to move to set No. 3.”
This scandal could result in big time devastation for the Houston Astros’ reputation, as it should. Regardless, the league must show that cheating of any kind is not accepted if they are in fact proven guilty of all their accusations. Only time will tell the fate of the Houston Astros.