The Biggest Scandal in Houston Sports History

Ari Coplon, reporter

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More than two years after the Astros won their first and only World Series championship, an investigation for an illegal sign-stealing scheme carried out by the Houston Astros was thoroughly investigated by Major League commissioner Rob Manfred. The scandal and the investigation that followed has damaged the reputation and integrity of the Houston Astros organization and their 2017 World Series championship. 

According to the investigation, the Astros began to use a sophisticated sign-stealing system during the 2017 MLB season that involved the use of electronics. In Major League Baseball, sign-stealing is legal, but doing so with the use of technology is illegal. The investigation found that Astros’ employees would get signs from a camera in the outfield and the signs would get relayed to a monitor with an employee in the dugout hallway. The employees had methods such as banging on trash cans to relay signs to players in the dugout and on the field. This method was used throughout the 2017 season at Minute Maid Park until the conclusion of the World Series. According to Manfred’s report, the Astros stopped using their electronic sign-stealing method during the 2018 season. 

 There is a growing suspicion among many players and reporters in the MLB that the Astros improvised and used a different system to steal signs after the 2017 season. Rumors and speculation about alternative methods of cheating have been brought up by YES Network’s Michael Kay and Jomboy Media on Twitter; however, there is no hard evidence or mention of this in the Commissioners report.

A lot of Emery students have strong feelings about the Astros and their World Series win. “Everyone cheats a little bit in the MLB,” Senior Milton Mosk, a lifelong Astros fan, said. “The Astros scandal is a hoax and a PR scandal.”

As has been the case with most major sports scandals, the Astros got handed a hefty punishment. As a result of the Commissioner’s report, Manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow both received one-year suspensions and were subsequently fired by the Astros. Additionally, the organization was fined $5 million and lost a total of four highly valued draft picks over the next two years. The punishments that were handed down to the Astros were harsh, but Emery students agreed with the consequences.

 “[The consequences were] fair,” Sophomore Hayden Deutsch said. Deutsch believes “the season will be a wreck and everything will go downhill because of the punishment.”

The Astros “should not be stripped of the World Series title,” Junior Max Roffwarg said, “because the Astros won on the road at Dodger Stadium, not just at Minute Maid Park.”  The MLB agrees. According to their report, the 2017 title will likely not be taken away. However, the 2017 Houston Astros reputation is forever ruined in the eyes of many fans and players.

“It is hard to feel they earned it,” Los Angeles Dodgers superstar Justin Turner said. With all the findings in the commissioner’s investigation, the 2017 World Series title is tainted because of the unfair ways the organization won the World Series.