It’s been nearly two years since the baseball world found out about the Astros cheating scandal, and they were back in the postseason for the seventh year in a row. After defeating the Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship series in game six, the Astros advanced to the World Series to play against the Atlanta Braves.
The cheating scandal involved using a camera in the outfield to record the catcher’s calls to the pitcher, and then using different types of signals to alert the batter what kind of pitch will be thrown. This method of cheating helped them to win a majority of their regular season games, where they had a 101-61 record, as well as the World Series in 2017, the highest level achievable in baseball. Could they have been able to win as many games if it hadn’t been for the cheating?
“Sign stealing,” or decoding the secret cues between a pitcher and catcher, isn’t a new thing in baseball, but it’s still incredibly upsetting to see teams with this kind of recent history with no repercussions advance forward past teams like the White Sox, who have a fairly clean record.
Now, it’s easy to target the men in the Astros jerseys, but for me, it’s not entirely about the specific players. Yes, they have a part to play in it because they were the ones physically banging on trash cans as a way to signal to their offense about upcoming plays. It’s also important to note the wrongs of the franchise as a whole and the morality of higher authorities.
In February 2020 MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was said to have given Astros players immunity in exchange for their own knowledge and confessions on the cheating scandal. Do we see the issue here? Top positions in MLB are diminishing the scandal for information; information that has not even been used to give out punishments to the team or players involved.
For me, the disciplinary action of this scandal would be taking their World Series title away or having the individual players face some kind of punishment, but two years later, they still have their championship rings and trophy.
Although there hasn’t been any reports of the group cheating this season, some of the members from the 2017 team still remain. For example, Jose Altuve, the second baseman, Carlos Correa, the shortstop and Yuli Gurriel, the first baseman, are all consistent players this year and contributed to the defeat of the White Sox and the Red Sox.
I may never be able to think of the Astros as a clean team, no matter how many championships they win. Not only is this cheating an unfair way to win more titles, it’s unfair to the other teams who worked equally as hard to get to October baseball, but were cheated out of it. In the future, I hope to see more teams with clean records, who actually deserve it, advancing to a possible championship.