“Altuve has just sent the Astros to the World Series!”
This was the callout from the announcer in the 2017 World Series in the ALCS against the New York Yankees. Altuve had just smashed a two-run home run and as he came around the plate, he was holding onto his shirt because he didn’t want it ripped off in the celebration.
Suspicion swarms the Houston Astros to this day as to why Altuve did this. This event would end up haunting the Houston Astros for years to come as it was the beginning of their run to winning the 2017 World Series and scandal into cheating. The Houston Astros have had a long year as they have been under controversy for their cheating antics.
They were once the league’s worst team for many years until 2017 when it finally clicked. The young team was able to win the franchises first world series ever before in this special year. Little did they know, this was going to be the start of their demise.
The Houston Astro’s cheating and punishment have MLB teams, managers, and players under question for cheating as well as sports around the world making sure cheating is prevented. Also, the Astro’s cheating resulted in backlash from the sports community, questions about how they executed without being caught, and how it impacted many people’s lives and jobs.
The Houston Astro’s cheating has affected the sports community without question and the game of baseball and other sports should be concerned because it will impact the outcomes and way sports will be played.
MLB Investigation of Astro’s Cheating
The MLB decided to investigate the Astro’s late in 2019 as a former Astro’s pitcher, Mike Fiers, publicly stated that the ball club had cheated in 2017. The punishment was much less than expected when Robert Manfred completed his investigation in early 2020. Players had denied the cheating over and over, but it was concluded that there was evident cheating.
Astro’s players have since apologized and even made jokes about the controversy like Justin Verlander in his Cy Young Award speech. Different MLB teams have also been investigated during this time to make sure the Astros weren’t the only teams cheating. The Houston Astro’s cheating and punishment have MLB teams, managers, and players under question for cheating as well as sports around the world making sure cheating is prevented.
Other Managers Fired
The investigation of the Houston Astros was ongoing because of how many people were involved. Former Red Sox manager Alex Cora was fired for taking place in the cheating while being an assistant coach for the Astros for the 2017 season.
Also, newly hired New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran parted ways with the team as he was a player for the Astros the same year as Cora. They both are thought to be highly involved in the cheating schemes which explains their departure after 1 year with the club. In addition, the Red Sox have since been in an ongoing investigation for their 2018 World Series win.
Robert Manfred, the MLB commissioner controls the operation. Players and representatives have been cooperative with the entire process. The investigations of other teams and themselves have continued to be an ugly sight for the face of the Houston Astros.
Did the Punishment Fit the Crime?
The punishments that the Houston Astros received were questioned throughout all of sports. Upon receiving hate and criticism, they also lost draft pick compensations for the next few years which could hinder their farm system in the minor leagues.
Also, the steepest fine the MLB can give a team is what the Astros received which was five million dollars. Their manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were given a 1-year suspension from the MLB which led to their firing. Alex Rodriguez, a fellow cheater in baseball, says the Astros deserve whatever comes their way in an article by Michael Bradburn.
Many of the Astro’s players expect to be intentionally hit and other teams to play dirty against them because of the cheating scandal. Luckily for the Astros, the MLB does not plan to strip its 2017 World Series title win. The Astro’s punishment has been a question throughout sports about whether or not it was an accurate amount. The punishments will affect the Houston Astros in the long run, no matter what they are.
Astros Player Apologies and Remorse
Some current and former Astros players have remarked an apology for their actions and also remorse. Former Astro’s player, Mike Fiers was a large part of the cheating scandal, as he was the one to state to the world that the Astro’s had cheated. He explained how they cheated and when it went on.
Fiers was one of the players that showed no remorse as he thought it was the right thing to do to publicly announce the cheating. Former and current Astro’s players have considered Fiers a snitch and a horrible person because of his situation in the fraud.
Jose Altuve, second baseman for the Astro’s and Alex Bregman, third baseman for the Astro’s have fully denied the cheating but have still issued brief apologies in interviews. In the 2017 World Series, Charlie Morton was the pitcher to clinch the win for the Astros. He exerted remorse and says he regrets ‘not doing more’ to stop the illegal sign-stealing even though he’s on a different team now.
Manager AJ Hinch also shared his regrets in his decision making. He explains that he should’ve taken the action and stopped the cheating early. Players have been somewhat apologetic in this scandal and continue to talk to the media.
MLB Explores Ways to Prevent Cheating in Baseball
Some executives, analysts, and players have already thought of ways to prevent cheating in MLB. A veteran MLB analyst, Tom Verducci, gives his insight and says the answer is easy: Once the first pitch is thrown, all electronics must be turned off, with one exception being the replay monitor for MLB security personal.
Technology has provided much good for the game, especially as a training tool. But the Astros are the warning shot of what happens when it goes too far, writes Tom Verducci https://t.co/aKtWk2i3zV
— SI MLB (@si_mlb) March 5, 2020
Signs would then be unable to be deciphered in-game, and the video research would then be saved for after the game. This would be a step in the right direction to stop cheating in MLB and in all other national leagues as well. Other reports suggest players should wear earpieces to relay signs to one another. Tests in the minor leagues have been concluded with these earpieces, and players have shown discomfort with them in their ear.
Also, some players from other teams suggest that the Astro’s players deserve some sort of discipline or fine that has come out of this entire scandal. To them, it seems unfair for the Astro’s players to not have a disadvantage or penalty. Cheating has always been a way to get what you want.
The pros of cheating are the money and winning that is involved, but the cons of cheating are shown through the Astro’s situation and usually result in regret. MLB has been working on ways to prevent cheating and continue to work on solutions.
Cheating is something that the sports world has always had to deal with. From PED’s to pine tar on a player’s bat, there has always been ways to make yourself better in the MLB and in all other sports. The investigations in the MLB show that there is an issue that is trying to be solved.
A handful of players have admitted their wrong-doings and others have given half-hearted apologies in the Houston Astro’s scandal. According to players around the MLB, they believe that the punishment for the Astro’s is too low, and it won’t affect the other cheaters in days to come. The punishment’s that players receive will likely be how the cheating is prevented.
The Asterisk Lives On
The Astro’s 2017 World Series win will always have an asterisk that occupies it because of the cheating that occurred. It has affected countless aspects of the sports community.
There has been outspoken hate that has been shared through fellow MLB players and sports influencers. Questions and suspicion have begun to fill the sports world about how they cheated and for how long. The cheating has impacted a numberless amount of people as to what job they have received or lost and even how much someone banked or lost betting on MLB games
The Astro’s cheating resulted in backlash from the sports community, questions about how they executed without being caught, and how it impacted many people’s lives and jobs.
Players & Influencers Chime In
There have been countless players and influencers around the world criticizing and shaming the Astros. Some have been more outspoken than others, but there is still that feeling of hatred towards the Astros as the cheating scandal has continued.
LeBron James tweeted and said,
“I would be f****** irate,”
as he expressed his feelings towards the Astro’s rule-breaking.
LeBron James Blasts Cheating-Ass Houston Astros, ‘I’d Be F’ing Irate’ https://t.co/XaqA38QX7l
— Keith Sterling (@master_king_god) February 19, 2020
Alex Rodriguez has also been very vocal in his disappointment towards the Astros. Additionally, Mike Trout let his opinions of displeasure with the Astros out saying,
“It’s sad for baseball,”
as he talks about the scandal. Andrew Heaney of the Los Angeles Angels stated towards the Astro’s that he,
“hopes they feel like s*** for cheating.”
Mike Clevinger joined the harsh language criticism as well and said they are the biggest piece of s*** in baseball history. Sports fans, players, and teams are unforgiving towards the Astros and will continue to bash them for years to come.
Players and fans around the MLB have been curious about how the Astro’s pulled off their cheating. The system that they used was named Codebreaker to decipher the signs of other teams’ pitchers.
Then, they were able to relay those signals into their dugout through video cameras. The message was then sent to the batter through a series of banging on a trash can by a player or an assistant coach. Since the batter would be able to know what pitch was coming next, he would have an advantage at the plate.
The technology that they used was kept private, and there were even employees that programmed and ran the system Codebreaker. Players and scouts had been skeptical and had caught on to the trash-can banging after a while.
Once again, MLB superstar Mike Trout chimed in and said,
“I noticed the banging off the bat from center field.”
He then goes on to explain in an article by the Star Tribune’s Greg Beacham that there are many players that work hard in the MLB and they don’t need cheaters to ruin their success. Multiple scouts have rumored that the Astros had been using technology to cheat for many years. The Astro’s cheating has caused fans and players to question their every move for years to come.
The Subtle Impacts of the Astros Cheating Scandal
The everlasting impact that has been placed on people in the sports industry is substantial. Jobs have been lost in consequence of this fraud. Manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were both fired by the Houston Astro’s after they had each been suspended for 1 year by the MLB.
Players in the MLB have also lost opportunities for raises because of the Astro’s cheating. Kansas City Royals second baseman Whitt Merrifield claimed he could have been given a larger contract if he was selected to the All-Star game in 2017.
Jose Altuve had just beat him out for that spot because of his stellar season. Mike Bolsinger had gone as far as to sue the Astros for making him lose his career because he was torched by the Astros in multiple games. The impact of the Astros will not be forgotten by anyone in the sports community because of the issues it caused.
Not only were representatives in the MLB affected by the cheating, but sports fans were impacted in a way as well. For example, California Little League teams are now banned to be named the Houston Astros. In addition, there are many people who bet on the MLB, and they could’ve lost or gained money from Astro’s successful scam.
Fantasy sports contestants had even filed a lawsuit against the Astros claiming their “fantasy scores” were altered by the cheating. The judge recently threw out the lawsuit, but the fact that this came down to fans pursuing a lawsuit is significant.
Plus, think about the MLB sports betting impact this cheating scandal might have had?
Along with the players being heckled through this 2020 spring training, fans have also been getting heat from other fans across the MLB. The entire situation has impacted the sports world as we know it.
Sports World on Notice Thanks to the Astros
Astro’s cheating has changed the sports community like no other scandal. There have been outspoken influencers like LeBron James and Alex Rodriguez that have criticized the Astro’s. There have been questions on how the Astros cheated.
There have been people that have lost jobs and money. This is so significant because money is so valuable to many people. If the Astros had not cheated, it could have changed the outlook of the entire MLB. The impact on the sports community and ordinary people will be forever felt from this type of cheating.
The punishments of the Houston Astro’s have definitely put the sports world on notice. Players have responded, executives have thought of ways to not cheat, and there have been countless people throwing hatred towards the Astro’s.
There has been a great backlash by the community, questions on how the cheating was executed, and how the impact has shaken our sports world. Preventing cheating from happening is such an important topic because it is the future of sports as we know it. Technology is forever evolving and there is no telling what it will be able to do this next century.
The Houston Astro’s punishment must be higher to prevent the next teams or players from cheating. The Astros were let off the hook for the blatant use of technology, trash-can banging, and maybe more. Although this was 3 years ago, if there isn’t a significant punishment then there will be no way to stop cheating for years to come.
The Houston Astros should be punished as a team and an organization with the loss of their 2017 World Series Title win and a suspension for a full year that includes players. Cheating will never change until the punishments rise.
This piece was written by the youngest KnupSports.com writer Drew Knuppel. He is a sophomore in high school with aspirations of being in “sports business” as a career.