How did the Houston Astros cheating scandal happen?
After the sign-stealing cheating scandal by the Astros, the team has the chance to prove themselves in a legit battle against the Braves in the World Series.
The Astros' cheating scandal began early in 2017, according to a report released by MLB.
However, it wasn’t until late 2019 when the MLB decided to start an official investigation on the Astros, following a story broke by two players on the Houston team that claimed they were stealing signs. The investigation was guided by a whistleblower, who was key in revealing certain information on how the cheating was done. The whistleblower was ex Astros pitcher Mike Fiers who signed with the Tigers before moving to the Athletic in a trade deal.
“That’s not playing the game the right way,” Fiers told The Athletic.
Despite this, the MLB didn’t hold an investigation until two years later. The scandal remained a secret among all of the teams, who were already aware of the Astros’ cheating since the rumors started to spread in 2017 when White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar was suspected of trash-can banging.
The illegal execution
The investigation report revealed by the MLB proves the Astros video room staff used game feed recorded with the center field camera to relay the opponent’s signs to Houston’s base runners on second base.
The way they relayed the signs varied. For example, when the runner was on the second base, they often used dugout personnel to reveal the signs to the runner on second who would then pass the message to the batter. Another means to reveal the signs was through bench coach Alex Cora’s smartwatch, which sometimes received information from the replay room.
An improved cheating plan
They didn’t always use a third person to cheat their way to a win. the players, who were all more-or-less involved, schemed a plan to improve their cheating plans.
In this plan, manager Cora was in charge of setting up a monitor outside the dugout which showed the center field camera feed. After the setup, one of the players would watch it and read the signs of their opponents. Signs were later used to designate the batter by screaming, clapping, whistling, and in some cases by banging a trash can.
Nevertheless, this illegal technique stopped in 2018 following the rumors that were starting to spread after a player was suspected of banging.
Who was blamed for the scandal?
"Virtually all of the Astros' players had some involvement or knowledge of the scheme," wrote the MLB.
However, just the manager and general manager were held accountable. With the players being exempt from any kind of discipline after claiming they would have stopped if the team manager had said them too. The MLB received a handful of critiques from baseball fans, who said cheating in MLB is cheap.