Did the Houston Astros Cheat Their Way to a World Series Title?

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Did the Houston Astros Cheat Their Way to a World Series Title?

Alison Goldberg, Co-Editor in Chief

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Flashback to 2017…the Astros finally had a strong core, their pitching was elite and they finished with a hot 101-61 record. After that strong regular season finish, they plowed their way to the World Series and took it all, fair and square. Now, let’s fast forward 2 years, to current day. 2019 is coming to a close and what else would a reigning 2017 World Champion, followed by years with back to back Wild Card losses and a no hitter in 2019 be doing rather than enjoying the off season? Well, probably not what you’d expect. Apparently he’d prefer exposing the team that didn’t want him back for 2018, publicly. Not an ideal offseason, but let’s get into what he was exposing. 

The Houston Astros used a center-field camera to help steal signs during their 2017 championship season, according to Fiers. “How exactly was this set-up” and “how were the signs relayed” you may ask yourself. Well, here’s what we know…

The camera set-up in center field was focused on the catcher’s hand, giving the pitcher the sign. This camera was allegedly hooked up to a computer or monitor of some sort which was in the hallway between the Astros’ dugout and  clubhouse. Photos have been released showing a table with a single chair, a cable hanging from the ceiling and a plastic garbage bin right next to it with some damage to it. “What does the damaged garbage bin have anything to do with it” you may be thinking..well that’s a key part of the developing story. Once an Astros’ player caught onto the signs being used by the opposing team, they would then bang on the garbage can when the catcher signed for an off speed pitch. There’s plenty of video footage that proves that there’s a banging sound coming from the Astros’ dugout area when the catcher signs for an off speed pitch. It’s interesting to see how in the three previous years, prior to 2017, the Astros had the highest strikeout rates in the league and starting in 2017 they had the lowest strikeout rate, second lowest in 2018 and back to lowest overall in 2019. Is this a coincidence or did the Astros use the sign stealing to their full advantage? 

Since this news was released there have been emails found that show an Astros front office executive emailing scouts for advice and to help them steal signs. Some scouts were willing to help, yet some found this very wrong. 

Why ruin the great game of baseball in such a devious way? Does this take away from the Astros World Series championship? Does it make it any less significant? 

I firmly believe that this is way too elaborate and extreme. The Astros took this form of cheating a few steps too far. But, although it was very wrong of the Astros do such a thing I do think Mike Fiers is handling it inappropriately. If he thought it was so  wrong why didn’t he say something when it was happening? And why did he have to publicly express his opinion? Obviously he wanted his ring, but now did his conscience get the best of him?

MLB is expected to punish the Astros since the evidence that they cheated is quite obvious. But what’s a fair punishment? Suspensions? A hefty fine for numerous players? No draft picks? Take away the possible compensation pick for Cole? We’ll see how the investigation goes and what results from it, hopefully, sooner than later…