When many sports fans think of scandals, they immediately go to the New England Patriots in the NFL but that very well may not be the case anymore. The Astros appear to have completely ruined the public’s view on themselves and Major League Baseball with their latest scandal, resulting in 3 MLB managers being fired from their jobs and a General Manager.
The recent revelations and accusations of sign stealing, where the Houston Astros organization were caught banging on trash cans, using video cameras, and utilizing buzzers to indicate the upcoming pitches from opposing pitchers during the 2017 playoffs that resulted in the public humiliation of the team has not just impacted the 2017 World Champions but sent shock waves throughout professional sports as a whole.
The scandal has ultimately resulted in the Astros backtracking back to the laughing stock of the league, as they were back in 2011-2013. They were the worst team in baseball, winning 162 games in three years. Contrast this to the three of the seasons that followed, 2017-2019, in which they won 311 regular-season games, three AL West titles, two American League Pennants, and a World Series title.
It should be noted that it is this second set of three years when sources around the league speculate that the Astros were cheating by stealing signs (upcoming pitches) from other major league ball clubs during games.
If you’re not too familiar with baseball, you may not see the big deal of stealing signs but here’s an example of the effect it had on the sport during the 2017 World Series when the Astros were playing the Dodgers, eventually winning in 7 games.
Future MVP Jose Altuve had an away batting average of .143, one home run, and two runs batted in but had a home average of .472 with six home runs and 12 runs batted in. Obvious statistical splits during the playoffs like this show the unfairness the team embraced, as it is assumed that Altuve improved at home thanks to the sign-stealing practices. The team went 2-1 at home during that series and Altuve’s performance played a large role in those two wins.
To me personally, this situation shows a sick and twisted sense of morality for a group of men who are supposed to be the best at their craft, to have the audacity to brutally rob other organizations of their shot at a championship.
Los Angeles Dodger and 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger, who witnessed firsthand the effect of the Astros cheating in the World Series, agrees.
“They’ve been cheating for three years,” said Bellinger in an interview with ESPN.com. “I think what people don’t realize is Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in 2017, and everyone knows they stole a ring from us [the Dodgers] […] Personally I lost respect for those guys and I think everyone in the show and the big leagues lost respect for those guys.”
A superstar of Bellinger’s magnitude wasn’t the only athlete to be irate about the scandal. NBA star Lebron James tweeted, “Listen here baseball commissioner listen to your players speaking today about how disgusted, mad, hurt, broken, etc, etc about this…Literally the ball is in your court (or should I say field) and you need to fix this for the sake of sports.”
Hearing things like this coming from an athlete that’s not associated with the MLB leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Because from now on with a prestigious World Champion baseball team like the Astros to commit to such a horrendous crime with such lasting effects like this making loyal die-hard sports fanatics like myself skeptical about the authenticity of professional sports. And we are already seeing these effects as another case of cheating has been opened on the Boston Red Sox during their World Series run in 2018.
Simply put, professional sports from this point forward will never be the same.
Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2019-2020 Periscope staff, CHS/CASD administration, or the CHS student body.