Will it catch up to them in the long run?
The Houston Astros have been one of the best teams in baseball over the course of the last three seasons. They have had some of the best talent assembled in the MLB in a long time with multiple MVP candidates and some of the best offensive players in the game today. You would think they aren’t in need of any extra help, would you? Think again.
Over the course of baseball history, stealing signs has always been a thing. Sign stealing happens in pretty much every level of baseball, but it is heightened once at the high school, college and professional levels. To be fair, most teams understand that it is a part of the game, so they switch up their signs from inning to inning so there’s never a pattern the other team can steal.
However, signs in the big leagues are another level of the complex. The reason for this is because there are about 20 people from the opposing team trying to find any advantage possible for their team.Teams have many more resources as we just found out.
Over the course of the last three seasons, the Astros have been sign-stealing at home. Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers blew the whistle on his former team, telling everyone that the Astros had a camera located in the outfield that was wired to a TV in the hallway just down the dugout steps. At first glance, this isn’t the biggest issue because everyone attempts to steal signs. But, more information continues to come out about the ways the Astros stole signs as well as how they were relaying the information.
Video and audio evidence emerged of the Houston bench making loud crashing sounds from the dugout signaling a changeup/offspeed pitch was coming. It’s not a small crash either; it’s a loud and noticeable crash. Frankly, I can’t believe the fans didn’t pick up on this faster. There is a lot of evidence against them with video after video of players hitting home runs after loud crashes came from the dugout. This is blatant cheating.
There have also been reports and pictures of another possible way the Astros were giving their hitters the signs in the batter’s box. The pictures look like a metallic strip on batting gloves that seem to possibly have some sort of connection to electromagnetism. With this, the Astros could buzz their players for certain pitches before they were thrown.
It makes it a lot easier to hit when you know what’s coming. The good thing about these reports is all of the evidence has come from games played at their home stadium Minute Maid Park. If this was a major problem in every single game of the 2017 season, we could be talking about the Astros forfeiting their championship.
There are so many takes on this issue, coming from multiple angles. The Boston Red Sox were accused of stealing signs with the use of Apple Watches in 2017. The moral question becomes: is this egregious cheating or is it just part of the game? It’s easy to sit here and call out the Astros in this scenario for cheating and as much as I want to, this is going to blow over in a few years. You cannot fully blame the Astros for trying to use technology to their advantage in order to win more games.
Is it unethical and a “bending” of the rules? Yeah, that is fair to say. But, the Red Sox did it too. The New England Patriots have done it. Sadly, this is just another team becoming the team that cares about winning above all else. They will do anything and everything to try and gain an advantage on their opponents.
What’s sad is that this Astros team was promoted so well.
The team that came up together through their farm system, the young group that finally grew up and became the amazing players they were expected to be. This team’s desire and passion has been fun to watch from time to time. Off the field though, there are a few egos that can get in the way. Houston has a few loud personalities in their core, and those couple players seem to speak and act selfishly more often than not.
Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman aren’t two of the most likable guys in the league. This whole walking around like they have earned their status and power doesn’t quite sit well with me and plenty of baseball fans. The team was cheating during their championship season and hasn’t quite proved their greatness yet in the history books.
With the MLB investigating the situation intently, the Astros could be looking at significant punishment from Commissioner Manfred. Welcome to the Dark Side, Houston. I hope you get comfortable, because when the Commissioner comes calling, Houston, you’re going to have a problem.