Culture

MLB Confirms Houston Astros Cheated in Postseason But Team Won't Forfeit World Series Title, Trophy.

(Image: Twitter.com @usatodaysports Screenshot)

It was touted as the biggest sports scandal since Spygate and Deflategate in the NFL:

The Houston Astros got caught got stealing signs all the way into the postseason of 2017 when they beat the LA Dodgers in the World Series.

Major League Baseball announced the punishment on Monday:

The Astros were ordered to pay a $5 million fine, forced to give up four draft picks, and ordered to suspend their GM and Manager. Houston fired both men.

The sports press made the sign-stealing operation seem like a sophisticated high tech scheme, but it boiled down to watching the catcher and banging on a trash can. It was more “Sandlot” than “Moneyball.”

The Astros put a camera in center field, stole the catcher’s signals to the opposing pitcher and then conveyed the signs to the batter by banging on a garbage can or sending texts:

“Astros employees in the team’s video replay room started to decode signs using the center field camera at the start of the 2017 season. A player would act as a runner to bring the information to the dugout, where a runner on second would be signaled. The runner would decode the catcher’s sign and signal the batter. At times, an employee in the replay room would convey the information by text message to the watch or phone of a staff member in the dugout.

… Cora arranged for a video monitor of the center field camera to be installed next to the dugout and players would communicate pitches by banging a bat or massage gun on a trash can. Two bangs usually were used for off-speed pitches and no sound for fastballs.”

So far Alex Cora’s fate is unknown. He went to the show of shows, Boston, after his success in Houston. Carlos Beltran went to the Mets.

Let’s not kid ourselves here. Teams have been stealing signs from time immemorial. Fred Flintstone stole Barney Rubble’s signs for crying out loud, but if you’re the MLB and you’re teeing up a high and tight purpose pitch, then why don’t you go for the brass er platinum ring?

The punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crime.  Something seems oddly amiss.

Don’t you give up the trophy and the title?

According to the Astros owner, no, you do not:

But many more said oh, yes, you do:

And if they don’t give up the title to the Dodgers there will always be an asterisk:

Some said it sent the wrong message:

Houston made huge money from winning the 2017 World Series:

“In 2017, players earned a record $84.5 million from postseason bonuses, and the winning Houston Astros team split a record $30.4 million. The World Series runner-up, the Los Angeles Dodgers, split $20.3 million.

“The players’ pool” — which is divided among the 10 postseason clubs — “is formed from 50 percent of the gate receipts from the Wild Card Games; 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first three games of the Division Series; 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the League Championship Series; and 60 percent of the gate receipts from the first four games of the World Series,” according to the MLB.”

Imagine if the players had to give up their postseason checks.

Ain’t gonna happen.