The 2017 World Series ended with a triumphant victory for the city of Houston and its fiery team of champions. Then, just over a month ago, the world of baseball had discovered that the Houston Astros had deliberately cheated in their regular and playoff games.
On January 13th, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed that the Houston Astros were stealing signs via transmitting camera footage to the dugout, where a player would bang on a trash can to tell the batter what pitch was coming. This was reportedly used throughout the 2017 regular season and into the playoffs, resulting in an Astros World Series title.
The Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch was promptly suspended for the action, and others were fired under suspicion. However, the players on the 2017 team were granted immunity in exchange for information.
“Yeah, I feel like they had complete responsibility for what they were doing,” said junior Dodger fan Junior Jacob Ron. said, a Dodgers fan. “They knew what was going on in that specific situation and when they were [stealing] the signs.”
This line of reasoning has been commonly used by many, and it is usually followed up by citing the court of law. Under U.S. law, complying with an investigation usually results in a diminished sentence, not an eliminated one.
Junior Abigail Wells agreed, saying, “I really think the players themselves should be punished…[the fact that] they still have the title of World Series Champions is unacceptable because they didn’t win it fairly.”
It is commonly worried now about how fans will respond to the MLB after the decision was made to grant the players immunity and let them keep the title. Many players around the league disagree, including the Angels’ Mike Trout and Dodgers’ Justin Turner, who are among others who believe that the league should take extreme yet sensible actions.
Then comes the topic of the World Series Trophy, also known as the Commissioner’s Trophy. The question of whether the World Series should be taken away from the Astros is a big one.
“I don’t think so,” said sophomore Jake Preston. said. “It’d be really messy. I feel like there was another team that cheated and didn’t get stripped a long time ago, but I can’t be sure. If the Astros get stripped then that other team should get stripped.”
Preston’s point is a common theme in sports scandals. Many ask why one team was punished heavily for cheating while another was not. This sign-stealing scandal could set the bar further down the line.
Zoraiz Hashmi, a senior, thinks that not doing anything would be a bad example for the MLB to set.
“It’s just not great how the MLB treated the Astros. They’ll get an asterisk at the end of the day but still keep the trophy. The players were not punished enough, and if this is how the MLB treats their players, it’s a bad look on the sport as a whole,” Zoraiz said, discussing talks more about his opinion on his podcast, “The Fielder’s Choice.”
It is unclear at this time if any changes will be made to the Commissioner’s decision, and there is solid reasoning on both sides.
Sometime in March, the MLB will investigate the 2018 World Series, because the Red Sox had won with Manager Alex Cora, a member of the 2017 Astros managing staff. Throughout this scandal, there has been suspicion that Alex Cora allegedly used sign-stealing in an attempt to win the World Series.
Since the investigation is still an on-going case, new details will surely emerge and more drama is going to be added to the fire. But once a ruling has been made there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this scandal will be one of the craziest sports scandals to ever happen.