Shortly after the 2019 World Series, reports of allegations against the Houston Astros began surfacing. Allegations that the Astros allegedly cheated in the 2017 World Series by stealing signs. An article by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich is the source of the allegations.
Mike Fiers, who pitched for the Astros from 2015 to 2017, claims the team used an electronic sign-stealing method in order to steal signs. Fiers claims the Astros installed a camera in the centerfield to focus on the signals between the catcher and pitcher. In addition, a TV connected to that camera was placed in the Astros dugout. Furthermore, the use of making loud noises was the way to inform the batter on the type of pitch that was coming their way.
Reports indicate that Astros manager A.J. Hinch, as well as New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran and Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora all played a role in the sign-stealing scheme. Beltran spent his final season as a player with the Astros in 2017. Cora spent that season as Houston’s bench coach.
On January 13th, Major League Baseball concluded their investigation and punishments were handed out. Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch are each suspended for one year. In addition, the club forfeits its first and second-round draft picks for the 2020 and 2021 MLB Drafts. Furthermore, the club is to pay a $5 million fine. Soon after, Astros owner Jim Crane fired both Hinch and Luhnow.
No players are facing any discipline. However, Cora is reportedly facing harsh discipline. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Cora along with Beltran are both identified as the ringleaders of the scandal. Beltran, on the other hand, is not facing any sort of punishment. As far as Cora goes, a decision on his punishment is to come once the MLB finishes its investigation of the Red Sox, according to Rosenthal. The Red Sox investigation comes from allegations that they allegedly illegally stole signs in the 2018 World Series.
This scandal certainly damages the club’s reputation. It leaves a permanent stain on the uniform. However, at this point, the team must accept the punishment and take responsibility. In other words, there’s no point in denying any wrongdoing. They need to move on and set their sights on the future instead of the past. Seems like they’ll need to re-earn their respect and it’ll take some time. However, the only way to go from here is to prepare for the future.
It’s unclear where the Astros go from here. The team is coming off a brilliant season finishing as runners-up in the 2019 World Series, losing to the Washington Nationals. The team begins Spring Training next month.