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Astros pay heavy price for sign-stealing scandal

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Stealing signs in baseball has been around ever since teams started using signs to communicate on the field.
Most often it is employed in determining what pitch the pitcher will throw, usually when there is a runner on second base.
Using the naked eye to steals signs is widely regarded as acceptable.
As technology has evolved, MLB warned teams there would be consequences if any team was caught using electronic devices to steal signs.
But that did not stop the Houston Astros from breaking the rules en route to winning the World Series in 2017.
Following an investigation, Major League Baseball hit the Astros with several punishments, including one-year suspensions of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow. Houston was also fined $1 million and forfeit their first and second round draft picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.
Astros owner Jim?Crane went a step further, firing both Hinch and Luhnow hours after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the sanctions against the Astros.
The story came to light when Mike Fiers, a former Astro now playing for the Oakland A’s, said in an interview with The Athletic, that Houston used a video camera in center field to steal signs.
That led to MLB’s investigation into Houston’s sign-stealing endeavours, which led to the punishment recently handed down.
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was the bench coach with the Astros in 2017 and helped to mastermind the sign stealing, lost his job with the Bosox and New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran, the only player named in MLB’s findings, mutually parted ways with the Mets, without ever having managed the team, as he was hired last November.
Since the sanctions were announced, further accusations have come forward stating Astro players were stealing signs using buzzers worn by players, though this has not been proven by MLB.
There is some speculation star second baseman Jose Altuve is one of those players who wore a buzzer. After hitting a walk off home run to win the American League Championship Series, Altuve made a beeline for the clubhouse before returning to the field to celebrate with his teammates, leading some people to speculate it was to remove the buzzer he was wearing.
There are people who feel the Astros should be stripped of the World Series they won in 2017. Others would like to see players punished, but MLB stated it was hard to know exactly who was involved and to what extent.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, though, to see Altuve or a teammate lead the Majors in being hit by pitches next season. Opposing pitchers will extract their own form of payback when the season begins in a couple of months.
You can’t help but wonder how many people were affected by this.

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Doug Zywina
REPORTER