There is a saying in sports that declares if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.
Well, if the allegations are true, the Houston Astros were really trying.
Thanks to a report from The Athletic last week, a scathing scandal has been brought to light that says the 2017 Astros electronically stole signs.
How’d they do it?
According to the report, a camera and garbage can made it happen.
That has not been determined, but here’s what we know — or at least what is being investigated by Major League Baseball.
Major League pitcher Mike Fiers who was a member of Houston from 2015 to 2017, which includes the year the Astros won the World Series, joined some anonymous sources and went on record to claim Houston installed a camera in center field of Minute Maid Park to capture signs opposing catchers were relaying to their pitchers.
The camera supposedly sent images to a monitor stationed next to a garbage can in the tunnel leading to the Astros’ dugout.
Depending on what sign was put down, an unknown person stationed at the monitor banged on the garbage can to tell Houston batters what type of pitch was coming.
Here’s the problem.
It’s OK for MLB teams to steal signs with their eyes, but doing so electronically is forbidden.
Since the report, more and more information has rolled in pointing to the possibility of cheating.
Countless videos are now online where viewers can hear the banging with Houston batters at the plate.
Adding insult to injury, the Astros may have inadvertently indicted themselves with their 2017 World Series DVD.
A clip shows Houston’s Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman running in the tunnel that leads from the Astros’ dugout back to their clubhouse after a game.
They both go right past a suspicious setup with cables all over near a table that a monitor can be put on in front of a single chair next to a garbage can.
Even better, a fresh Gatorade bottle is on the table and tons of sunflower seeds, or possibly peanut shells, are all over the floor, indicating someone was sitting there for an extended period of time during a World Series game.
Right now, MLB is investigating Houston and the allegations of a cheating scheme.
All of the reports could be false, but lets be real.
The evidence is piling up.
If the Astros did cheat, they need to be held accountable.
It would not be fair to the Red Sox, Yankees and Dodgers, who Houston defeated en route to their championship, or any other team Houston played during the regular season, that an illegal advantage created an uneven playing field.
In a baseball world now dominated by analytics and various forms of technology, it seems the Astros may have went too far.
They potentially violated the purity of baseball.
If found guilty, the punishment needs to be hefty enough to assure this doesn’t happen again.
At this point, nothing should be left off the table.
Anyone who developed this strategy to steal signs should receive a lengthy suspension.
The Houston organization should be fined.
Draft picks should be taken away.
There’s no reason why the Astros’ World Series title should not be vacated if it was won by cheating.
Finally, MLB should take a play out of the NCAA’s playbook and make Houston postseason ineligible for one or possibly multiple seasons.
Cheating may or may not have given the Astros an upper hand in 2017, but eventually, cheaters get caught.
Major League Baseball can’t drop the ball on this one.
The clock is about to strike midnight on Houston.
It may be time for the Astros to take their medicine.