If you haven’t heard by now, the Houston Astros organization engineered a system that allows their batters to gain a significant advantage by knowing when a fastball pitch is coming versus an off-speed pitch (Curveball, slider, etc). The system was player driven, and was centered around the use of their center field camera in Minute Maid Park. They were able to see the signals from the catcher to the pitcher, which relayed back to the Astros dugout, where they would code their signs with banging on a trash can. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred granted the Astros players immunity from any punishment as long as they cooperated and laid out the details of the scheme. The Red Sox fired Manager Alex Cora, who was on the Astros staff during the scandal, and the Mets did the same with recently signed Carlos Beltran, while the MLB suspended Astros Manager AJ Hinch for the season, fined their team five million dollars, and striped them of their first and second round draft picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.
Despite those punishments, other MLB players as well as fans want more discipline on the Astros, including stripping the Team of the 2017 World Series pennant. Players such as Trevor Bauer, Nick Markakis, Mike Trout, and more have voiced their displeasure on how the punishment was handled, and I for one agree. It’s ridiculous for a team to have a clear advantage over the rest of the league and not have steeper consequences. It took the Astros seven games to beat the Yankees in the ALCS, and another seven to beat the Dodgers in the World Series with this advantage. I know it’s in hindsight now but if they didn’t have this scheme implemented then they would have most likely lost to the Yankees and not have even appeared in the World Series. Some players are upset with former Astros Pitcher Mike Fiers for spilling this information to MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal, like retired Hall of Fame Pitcher Pedro Martinez who said and I quote “Whatever happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse and Fiers broke the rules." Red Sox legend David Ortiz was also critical of Fiers and said that he looked like a ‘Snitch’ for exposing the scandal. I do believe that Fiers was coming from a place of bitterness rather than genuine concern for the game of baseball, and him exposing the organization after he’s had his ‘success’ with the Astros doesn’t make him a hero, just the messenger of the problem.
That being said, there is still a lot more content that hasn’t been surfaced yet in this story, so we will see how it develops over the coming weeks and months, but hopefully there will be more punishments added soon for the Astros. Download the PDF below for the other topics of the week!