Astros Sign Stealing Scandal: Punishments, Backlash, Theories, And Paranoia From The Massive Fallout

Alexander McCrystal, Reporting Journalist

The Astros have been busted, exposed, and frowned upon by the MLB and the entire baseball world, and for good reason. They have hurt the integrity of baseball by cheating players and fans. Yet they still are walking around with rings that scream “2017 World Champions of Baseball,” but do they really deserve that? The MLB itself said that they were cheaters, yet all the Astros got was a slap on the wrist and timeout in the corner. All players involved got no punishment, which made players who were cheated on even angrier. The Houston Astros Organization got a $5 million dollar fine and they had to forfeit 2020 and 2021 first and second round picks. Astros GM Jeff Lunhow, manager A.J Hinch, Mets manager Carlos Beltran, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora were all fired from their respective jobs and are likely to never be employed in baseball again. But it doesn’t seem like enough. The LA Dodgers and the whole city of LA felt so cheated out of their World Series that the LA City Council filed a claim to give the World Series title back to the Dodgers. The pitchers who have faced the Dodgers have spoken out about the resentment they feel towards the organization. It all seems as though, even with all of the damage the Astros have done to the game of baseball, all the lies, cheats, and coverups that were so unbelievably dirty and unsportsmanlike, it was only punished by a fine and suspension of two people. The commissioner’s report said, in short, “The Astros are completely guilty and cheated, but they did nothing wrong don’t get mad at them it’s nobody’s fault.” The MLB, as it seems, is trying to save face and continue to sell the jerseys of Houston Astros players by not punishing or suspending them. The report doesn’t really blame anybody that’s on the Astros, but instead tries to make it seem like a good situation, even though it’s anything but.

Not a single apology has come from anybody who isn’t a pitcher, and nobody has come out and cleared things up. Nobody even seems to care about the damage that’s been done. There has not been a shred of remorse from the Astros. The MLB’s attempts to sweep it all under the rug is laughable with all the hard evidence and rumors of unpunished, unaddressed, cheating. Players throughout the league have been chiming in and providing commentary on the scandal. The message from players and influencers throughout the baseball world has been the same: this is bad for the fans, bad for the players, and bad for baseball. Every attempt by the MLB to sweep it under the rug has made it worse. On top of that, paranoia and theories about other cheating happenings around the league have been spiraling out of control. All of these are due to the lack of clarity of the situation, and the hysteria around the league that is revolving around who’s cheating who. 

While most of these things on the internet are rumors, the biggest unsolved part of this massive puzzle is the possibility of Astros players using electronic buzzers to cheat as well. Not only would these buzzers be used at home games, but also away games, which makes the previous notion that they only cheated at home false if this is true. The most damning piece of currently presented evidence is when Jose Altuve refused to have his shirt ripped off after he hit a walkoff home run in game seven of the 2019 ALCS. On camera, it shows Jose indicating for his shirt not to be torn off, then immediately going to the locker room to change his jersey after he crossed home plate. Most people speculate that the reason for this is because he had a buzzer under his jersey. That’s not the only suspicious piece of evidence. In a MLB TV interview with A.J. Hinch, he was questioned about whether he used buzzers even though the investigation didn’t find anything. His answer was not “No”, or “We only used the trash cans and it was wrong,” but rather it was, “The investigation didn’t find anything and I believe them.” That is an extremely suspicious answer that just brushes things off, not answering the question. Also, you don’t have to believe what the investigation said when the manager would be the one who should know about everything. It even says in the commissioner’s report that A.J. Hinch knew about the scheme and didn’t say anything, so if he knew about it, wouldn’t he know the answer and also not need to rely on the investigation? 

All of this information is very frustrating to hear as a baseball fan and it hurts to see the game hit this hard. While many questions remain unanswered, some may just never be known, and the repercussions of this will never satisfy the ones affected. There are no winners, only losers, and some people will never get back what the Astros have taken.