If you are a baseball fan then you definitely know what has been going on with the Houston Astros this off-season, but if you don’t, they have found themselves in the biggest cheating scandal in MLB (Major Baseball League) history. Mike Fiers, who was a part of 2017 World series champions Houston Astros, publicly came out and said the Astros illegally sign stole in 2017.
Sign stealing has always been a part of baseball. For example, one legal form of it is where the runner on second base can see the signs the catcher is putting down and can relay to the hitter. All of that is legal, but when technology is involved, that’s when the line has been crossed.
According to Fiers, The Astros had a camera in center field that delivered a live feed of the catchers sign to a monitor that was placed in the passageway between the clubhouse and the dugout. A worker for the team would watch that live feed and decode the catcher’s signs. Once they were decoded and they could tell what sign the catcher put down, that person would then bang on a trash can to signal to the hitter that an off-speed pitch was coming. This was a clear and obvious competitive advantage for a team that was already stacked.
The MLB was forced to investigate the Houston Astros for cheating during their World Series season.
Not many expected to hear, though, that the team also cheated in 2018. When all was said and done, the commissioner handed out the biggest punishment a team has ever seen. He suspended the general manager Jeff Luhnow of the Astros and field manager A.J. Hinch for one year. They also took the Astros first and second round draft picks for the next two years and fined them $5 million which is the most a team can be fined under the Current MLB Rules.
After this punishment was handed down the Astros owner Jim Crane fired Luhnow and Hinch. While in terms of history, this punishment was the harshest ever given in the Live Ball Era. The rest of MLB is very unhappy and believes that the players should have also been suspended as they were the ones they kept it going. It will be very interesting to see how other teams will respond to the Astros when they play them. One thing will be expected, if the players believe the punishment was soft they will resort to good ol bean ball.