The Houston Astros are not many people’s favorite team in the NHL these days after they became the center of a cheating scandal. While most people involved in pro sports want to gain any advantage they can, few step over the line and actually cheat. This is what we know so far from the Houston Astros cheating scandal.
Rumors of the Astors cheating had begun to surface several years before any light was shed on the situation. Their opponents had become suspicious that the Astros were somehow cheating by stealing signs during the 2017 MLB season. It seemed to be more than a coincidence that they were able to predict more often than not where the pitcher was instructed to throw by the catcher. The more success the Astros began to have, the more people scrutiny the team was under.
Details of the Astros tactic of stealing signs emerged in 2019 after an article was published by The Athletic. In it, the team was accused of using a camera in the center field to capture opposing players’ hand signs to the pitcher. This information would then be relayed back to the batter, to prepare him for the type of pitch that was incoming. Considering how difficult it is to hit a baseball thrown by a starting pitcher, any advantage like this is going to be a huge help.
Winning the World Series
There would be no point in gaining an advantage if it wasn’t going to bring some success to the Astros. During the 2017 season, the Astros made their way to the World Series before winning the biggest prize in baseball. Officials at MLB headquarters chose to investigate the Astros after the report was published about them in 2019. MLB found that the Astros had used sign stealing to help them in parts of the 2016 season, the 2017 season, and some of the 2018 season.
Once the confirmation of the scandal hit the headlines, the Astros became hugely unpopular. Several of their coach staff lost their jobs for their involvement in the cheating scandal. The Astros players were not punished by MLB as they were willing to cooperate and give information during the case against their team. The Astros general manager, Jeff Luhnow, and field manager, A. J. Hinch, were given suspensions for the 2020 MLB season for not preventing this breaking of the rules.
As for the team itself?
The Astros picked up a $5 million fine, which was the maximum punishment for this offense. Houston will also forfeit their first-round picks during the 2020 and 2021 drafts. Despite confirmation of their cheating, the Astros will not have their 2017 World Series taken from them and awarded to someone else. The MLB wanted to stick with the tradition of making sure events in the past aren’t re-written, and chose to punish the Astros through fines and draft exclusions.
It may leave a bad taste in the mouth, but it seems the Astros won’t be losing the 2017 World Series title.