Asked by Linnie Rosenbaum in BaseballBaseball Rules and RegulationsHouston AstrosMajor League Baseball (MLB)
Did the Houston Astros actually cheat?
November 22, 2019 5:56PM
The short answer: probably. News of the scandal first broke in a Nov. 12, 2019, report by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic. It detailed a system in which the Houston Astros would monitor opposing catchers’ signs with cameras, then alert Astros batters of changeups and other off-speed pitches. A player or other employee would bang on a trash can to communicate to the current batter that one of these pitches was being thrown.
Rosenthal and Drellich had credible sources, having talked to four former Astros players, but the smoking gun came later that day, from a video by Jomboy Media on YouTube. In it, Jimmy O’Brien, founder of Jomboy Media, was able to find clear evidence of suspicious banging occurring just before off-speed pitches.
Since the news first broke last week, more evidence has come to light. Another report by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich detailed emails from an Astros executive who asked for aid in stealing signs from the franchise’s scouting division. More damning footage has made the rounds on various baseball forum sites, putting a cloud over their championship season in 2017.
It’s hard to say what will come next for the Astros organization. Fines are expected by a great many baseball fans, writers, and commentators, but larger punishments, such as bans, might be more difficult to manage. Whatever the decision will be, it is sure to make waves and leave a lasting impact on the future of baseball.