Major League Baseball is not looking good right now in wake of the sign stealing scandal involving the 2017 World Series champions Houston Astros. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a public statement that the MLBPA has refused to allow Houston Astros players to be interviewed about the incident. The MLBPA has responded by saying he was lying. In addition, more footage and cinematography are being released every day revealing technology being worn by various Houston Astros players. As of right now, it appears the league has no intentions of taking the World Series away from the Astros nor do they plan on suspending individual players. On January 17th, 2020 hosts Sharp and Shapiro took discussed the topic:
Shapiro opens up the discussion:
“There is footage of Altuve from his game winning homer off of Chapman from game 6 of the ALCS and you see teammates trying to pull on his jersey and he actually holds his arm up to his jersey and he’s saying something. He is telling people to stop pushing his jersey. There is speculation in that video that you can see an electronic device through that jersey.”
The video is one the most telling pieces of evidence I have ever seen. The reason I believe it even more than ever was a comment made by Astros shortstop Carlos Correa. He said the reason Altuve gripped his shirt like that was because of a bad tattoo on his collarbone. Altuve responded that he had gotten the tattoo done over the period of two sessions in San Francisco. The artwork in question was later revealed to be a simple tattoo of his daughter’s name on his clavicle. How that can look bad I have no idea. Also have you ever seen a walk off home run where the players just start ripping their teammate’s clothes off? He even ran inside the dugout to change his shirt instead of celebrating his game winning home run. This was obviously a moment of power for Altuve who got too cocky about it all. He felt so excited about their undeserved success, he didn’t bother trying to hide it. It was as though he was saying to the world, “You couldn’t catch me if you wanted.” There are a lot of pictures on the internet that point out that he was wearing some sort of device on his chest. The main problem is that Altuve would probably be let go in the context of a criminal lawsuit. No one can prove he was cheating beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the route that Major League Baseball is taking right now.
Red’s pitcher Trevor Bauer wrote a reaction to this. He heard from multiple parties that the Astros used devices to tip pitchers and Alex Wood of the Dodgers wrote, “I would rather face a player that was taking steroids than a player that knew every pitch that was coming. That makes complete sense and I agree with him 100%.
The advantage of knowing a pitch is perhaps the most valuable information you can get about your opponent in any sport. In football, teams are likely to audible on any given play and the nature of the game is so fast that teams would not be able to adjust accordingly on a consistent basis. Hockey is way too fast for any team to utilize knowledge like that and soccer is the same exact way. Sign stealing means you can predict the future. Pressure situations became manageable because players are aware of the best pitches to swing at. Steroids obviously have no place in the game but at least they still had to have the baseball IQ necessary to read pitches. Barry Bonds did not start taking steroids until 1998. From 1986 to 1997 he had a batting average of .288. The rest of his career he had an average of .314. This fairly minute overall change in batting average was overshadowed by the amount of home runs he was scoring. In the first 11 years of his career he had 374 home runs. Over the next 9 years of his career when he was taking steroids, he had 388 home runs. They made him a harder hitter but not a better batter when it comes to his average at plate performance.
Do you think the players should also be held accountable? (Because I do)
Well, if Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman were wearing pieces, I mean Bryan, I watched that game and I had a bunch of futures on the Yankees. I think they would have gone to the World Series. That pitch that Chapman threw Altuve was very surprising. I expected that to be about 102 miles per hour. It was a hanging change up and he just completely smashed that pitch. He definitely knew that pitch was coming.
The players have to be held accountable for the overall integrity of the game. Sports have already been taking a massive hit when it comes to this kind of thing. The Patriots were caught stealing practice footage of the Bengals and Tim Donaghy was caught in a gambling ring in which he was point shaving. There needs to be some form of punitive action to deter this kind of thing from happening again. Losing a couple of draft picks and money is not punishment enough for cheating. If those are the defined rules, I think it encourages people to cheat in the future. World Series titles are much more valuable than a few million dollars and some prospects.
Sharp later went on to say:
I’m a big Bregman fan and a big Altuve fan so is Jason Stein but if these are cheating at that level, to me, that is absolutely egregious, and they have no business playing Major League Baseball. If it can be proven, I think that that Astros team that won that 2017 World Series Title, that should be stripped from them and the Los Angeles Dodgers should be the 2017 world champion.
If those players were knowingly cheating, they have to be banned from the game of baseball. A year of suspension is not a proper punishment for winning the best trophy in baseball. Most teams only win 1 World Series a decade, if that, anyways. If a player who won MVP like Altuve was banned from the game, it set a very important tone going forward. It would show that no player, even the league’s best, can cheat and get away with it. The Astros definitely do not deserve to have a title to their name and the Dodgers should have the claim to it. That would completely change the legacy of Clayton Kershaw. Adding a World Series to his resume could get him closer to the status of greatest of all time.
I will say this about Carlos Beltran, I don’t think that he should have been fired as the manager of the Mets.
He was the ringleader of this whole thing. He cheated. This is a huge scandal. He was the main guy. I don’t think Beltran should be allowed to manage ever again.
We may never know the true extent to how elaborate this sign stealing scheme was. It seems clear to me that Beltran was probably the main culprit. As of right now, he is still trying to be a manager in MLB so I doubt he will ever admit anything any time soon. If there is ever adequate evidence that gives information of his exact involvement, he should be black balled from baseball. Major League Baseball can’t allow known cheaters to coach in baseball. Especially for a franchise as big as the New York Mets.