The Lasting Effects of Cheating

An investigation by Major League Baseball into the Houston Astros has resulted in news that the Texas baseball team exploited the use of cameras to signal their players during the 2017 season. In doing so, the Astro’s are in direct violation of league rules and will face not only punishment from the MLB but backlash from fans. 

After struggling since 2010 and losing in excess of one hundred games, the Astros managed to stage a comeback in 2017 in part due to draft selections and the willingness of its general manager, Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J Finch, both of whom were hoping to create a dynasty within the league. The sad part of this is A.J. Finch was not a supporter in this scheme and in fact was reported to have broken monitors used to watch for signs on several occasions. However, his punishment is a result of his choosing not to report the scheme to the MLB.

Their Punishment

As a result of the Astros using secret video feeds and devising a strategy to relay information to their players such as special noises, the leagues’ commissioner, Rob Manfred hit the Astros with a $5 million fine. This many consider paltry for the offences they are guilty of, especially considering it directly assisted Houston in winnings the 2017 World Series.

The commissioner has banned Luhnow and Finch from the league for a period of a year, but it is likely no other team will hire them in the future. In addition, both will be fine as a result of their actions, and the Astros will lose their second round draft picks for the next two seasons. The MLB is now trying to determine is Alex Cora, who was the bench coach during 2017 has employed similar tactics with his new team. If so, it will have an impact on the severity of punishment that will be levied against him.

The Astros were able to pull off the cheating scandal as a result of its video replay room by incorporating life video feeds throughout the game to figure out the signs being used by catchers. Once decoded, they were passed along immediately to a player who then passed along that information to the dugout. It was also determined that Alex Cora would communicate with the video replay room and then share that information with players that was then used to help steal bases.  

After the report was released, the owner of the Astros, Jim Crane said it was a very difficult day for the club and that as an organization, they co-operated fully with those carrying out the investigation. Crane added that he did have issues with the report, one being his not agreeing with the commissioner’s feelings that the organization was problematic as he took many steps to find any problems that remained as a result of the report’s findings.