The scandal involving the Houston Astros has impacted baseball in a momentous way
Major League Baseball has been under close scrutiny for decades, especially so in the last few weeks. Controversy and swindlers run wild in a game that seems to have a culture problem.
As a baseball fan, it’s hard to put into words exactly all that happened over the course of the last week. However, the severity of such things can’t be understated.
The Houston Astros received massive disciplinary consequences this week for their actions regarding a center-field camera used to decode opposing team’s signs. The first reports of the scandal described how they used the camera to decode signs and would bang on trash cans to inform their teammates in the batter’s box what pitch was coming. If you haven’t seen any videos breaking down exactly what the Astros were doing, you should stop and go watch one. Those videos make it extremely obvious what the Astros did to gain an advantage.
The week began with the Astros being penalized by losing their first and second-round draft picks for the next two years, $5 million dollars in fines, and suspensions of both head coach AJ Hinch and general manager, Jeff Luhnow for one full season. These punishments seemed harsh and had people all around baseball talking. To make matters worse, Astros owner Jim Crane fired both directly after the story broke.
The MLB has never quite experienced anything like this scandal before. Players and coaches have been trying to decode and steal signs for as long as the game has been played. The difference here is that the Astros used technology in order to gain a huge advantage. This changes the entire game.
Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood said it best on Twitter, “I would rather face a player that was taking steroids than face a player that knew every pitch that was coming.”
Speaking of steroids, that era is one that has haunted the game of baseball for decades. As you can see by Wood’s tweet, it is still fresh in the game’s memory. The way this scandal has spiraled out of control is remarkably similar to what happened in the 1980s with steroids.
In 2018, there were rumors going around regarding the use of cameras with many teams, so the MLB issued warnings to everyone, but they didn’t take any action. The same happened with steroids. The MLB warned the league’s players, but didn’t take any action at first. Naturally, since there were no consequences, players continued to use steroids, just as the Astros and possibly many other teams continued to use technology to their advantage.
In 2005, Jose Canseco became one of the biggest reasons why steroids became such a huge deal. Canseco publicly accused himself and countless others of taking steroids throughout the late 80s and 90s. After this, the MLB finally took action. The same goes for this scandal. The MLB had options to address this a lot sooner, but they thought a warning would suffice. It was only after Mike Fiers, who was a pitcher on the 2017 Championship Astros, whistle blew the team’s tactics to steal signs, that the MLB decided to take a closer look.
After another huge scandal in the MLB, it’s clear how poorly the organization is run. Those in charge, have turned a blind eye and it has cost the game everything. There is simply no integrity in baseball anymore and we have only reached this point because of the instilled culture of cheating in the game.
It’s a bad look all around — for teams, players and the league. The aftermath of the verdict the MLB gave to the Astros was just the beginning. It’s deja vu for baseball. Allegations have now spiraled out of control. More evidence of the Astros cheating with electronic buzzers underneath their jerseys has since come out. Not to mention other players are coming out with new things every day. Logan Morrison of the Seattle Mariners accused the Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees and Astros of all cheating with cameras to decode signs, but later deleted his post on Instagram.
Other accusations go all the way back to the 1990s. Jack McDowell, who played in the early 90s with the White Sox, accused Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa of using cameras to decode signs with the White Sox. Colorado Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster even tried to throw the Milwaukee Brewers under the bus accusing them of wrongdoing during the 2018 NLDS that saw the Brewers sweep the Rockies in 3 straight games.
It’s complete chaos in baseball and in our social media-driven world, more things will continue to perpetuate this scandal. The MLB didn’t answer the bell when it needed to, and now it’s paying for it.
This reminds me of the great Albert Einstein quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” MLB, I’m talking to you.