I believe the 2017 World Series title should be vacated, the Houston Astros have no business calling themselves champions. The Houston Astros were found guilty in June of 2019 of cheating during the 2017 regular and preseason.
Since the guilty verdict was called, players around the league have expressed discontent with the punishment and prevention of cheating in the future by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
Manfred found that the Astros set up a private camera in the outfield at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.
While the opposition was on defense, members of the organization would watch footage from the private camera on a laptop stationed between their dugout and clubhouse and bang on a trashcan to signal to the batter what type of pitch was coming.
The biggest violation of technology-based rules was that this was happening live, and various compilations show batters at the plate in Minute Maid revealing the banging sounds mere seconds after the catcher relayed his signs.
The Astros had been suspected of cheating by multiple teams. Last November, Mike Fiers (who pitched for Houston from 2015-2017) spoke about them and how they set up a method of stealing signs and relaying them to batters.
While he never went public until November with “The Athletic,” he said that while playing for Detroit and Oakland, he warned his teammates about what Houston was doing.
Sign stealing is one of baseball’s oldest unwritten rules that everyone understands. If you have a man on second base paying attention to the signs the catcher is giving, or players and coaches in the dugout trying to decipher the signs, that is an accepted part of the game.
Rules have been altered to limit technology’s role, given that cameras and tablets have made their way into professional sports. In this case, one team was using technology only they had access to at their home park.
Astros owner Jim Crane said in an apology, and I’m using that word loosely, that he didn’t think the sign-stealing had an impact, which is a blatant lie. Some players gave a weak, scripted apology that is adding to the resentment they’re getting.
Manfred is getting heat because he promised the MLB Players Association that Houston’s players would get full immunity in return for talking about the cheating and because he has allowed them to keep their World Series title.
Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers went off, saying they’ve been cheating for three years, and that the ring was stolen was from them, which I see as true seeing as they have been charged with cheating that whole year.
It is a huge deal to be called up to the big leagues, and even then there is no guarantee you stay there. The fact that guys got their chance to compete at that level after all their hard work, and never got back because they showed a poor outing against a team that cheated is so wrong.
Honestly, I feel that the worst part is that the Astros to this day act as if they did nothing wrong. Players like Carlos Correa saying things such as, they played the game right, or that they won game seven in Los Angeles so it is okay, just shows that they don’t care that they cheated, they just care that they got caught.
Some players had inspiring stories too, Altuve was told at an Astros tryout in Maracay that he was too short to play, but he went back anyway finally making it to the majors. But now, all he showed is that they were right, he is only an MVP and champion because he cheated.
I saw a story on George Springer that made me tear up, about his challenges of growing up with a speech impediment.
He was so embarrassed as a kid because of the bullying he faced, and he would have his mom order for him at restaurants so he didn’t have to speak. The video spoke about his character, and how he worked hard to overcome his problems.
It showed him working with children going through the same thing, and what he meant to them. But now, their idol is someone who only succeeded by cheating.
And worse, doesn’t feel bad about it. Famous people, whether they be athletes, musicians, actors, etc. have an effect on kids, they look up to them, if not idolize them.
And it is sad to see that they don’t seem to care about any of the people they have had an impact on.
The idea that the Astros will be targets of intentional beanings (balls thrown at opposing players) has been floating around, and only time will tell if Manfred can get a hold on the situation before the rest of the MLB takes justice into their own hands.