On Monday, the MLB world was shaken up well before news broke that Houston Astros owner and chairman Jim Crane had fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. It wasn’t the firings themselves that made the headlines, but the reason that the decision was made.
In November, a report was published in The Athletic about former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers telling his Oakland Athletic teammates to be wary of Houston’s outfield camera that was fixed on the opposing team’s catcher in an effort to steal pitching signs. Using electronic devices in this manner is not allowed in the MLB, so after the report came out, an investigation was launched by the league. This investigation found that the allegations were in fact true, and that it had went on for the entirety of the 2017 season. If you know anything about baseball, then you also know that the 2017 World Series was won by none other than the Houston Astros. To make a long story short, the Astros were cheating, and it worked. Now, the Astros have been caught, but the championship pennant still hangs, and the baseball world is very rightfully upset about it.
On top of being fired, Hinch and Luhnow have been suspended for one year without pay, and the organization has been fined 5 million dollars as well as forced to forfeit their first and second round draft picks for the next 2 years. Alex Cora, the Red Sox manager who was a coach for Houston at the time, will most likely face more severe punishment for being the bench coach most responsible for the system and even helping players develop it.
However, none of the players on the Astros championship team will be punished. They all knew about the cheating system, most of them actively participated in it, and they all obviously benefited from it the most. And if you’re wondering if that’s fair or not, just ask New York Yankees players, who were eliminated from contention in the seventh game of the American League Championship. Or you could ask the Los Angeles Dodgers, who also lost 7 games against the Astros, this time in the World Series. Sadly without knowing how much the cheating system actually helped batters for the Astros, you could never take their championship away from them, but its clear that they got off far too easily in this situation. For the players, the only thing that really comes out of this whole investigation is a figurative asterisk besides Houston’s name in the record books, and even then, it’s still there.