Major League Baseball sign-stealing scandal reverberates throughout league

Jake Blancher, Staff Reporter

After a two-month period of relative tranquility following the initial Nov. 12 New York Times report, the effects of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal have now rippled throughout Major League Baseball. 

In late 2019, former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers reported that the Astros used a system of cameras and trash cans to steal opposing teams’ signs and relay the upcoming pitches to their hitters. According to Fiers, Astros players first stole the catcher’s signs using cameras they set up in center field and hit trash cans near the dugout a designated number of times to let the hitters know exactly what pitch was coming. 

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Now, many are questioning the legitimacy of the Astros’ recent success in appearing in two of the last three World Series including a championship in 2017. 

Consequently, on Jan. 13 MLB’s commissioner Robert Manfred announced that the Astros have lost their first and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts as a penalty. Houston’s owner Jim Crane reacted by firing manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow from the organization. 

The fallout of this scandal has been felt far beyond Houston. Alex Cora has been relieved from his duties as the manager of the Boston Red Sox for his alleged involvement in the scandal, serving as the bench coach of the Astros during this time period. Similarly, the New York Mets have parted ways with newly-hired manager Carlos Beltran, despite his not having coached a single game for them, after he allegedly was an accomplice in the scheme while he was a player for the Astros. 

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While it remains uncertain whether more turmoil, punishments and personnel changes will result from these accusations, it is clear that one would need to go back just over a century ago to the “Black Sox” for a scandal that has shaken professional baseball to this degree.