The fourth domino has fallen in the Major League Baseball Sign-Stealing Scandal, this time in Queens, as New York Mets Manager and former Astros player Carlos Beltrán has officially stepped down as manager for the 2020 season.
Beltrán’s exit from the Mets helm marks the fourth dismissal since Rob Manfred’s findings from their investigation into the Houston Astros 2017 season were released earlier this week. Since then Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and Boston Red Sox skipper Alex Cora, have all been let go from their respective positions.
For those of you who don’t know, the Athletic published a story last November, that revealed a scheme by the Houston Astros to steal signs from opposing teams during home games at Minute Maid Park. The elaborate scheme involved an outfield camera focused in on the opposing catcher. When the catcher would relay signs to the opposing pitcher, an Astros employee would bang on a trash can if the pitch about to be thrown was off-speed.
That might sound dumb, but take a look for yourself…
Every. Single. Time.
For real, go to youtube, find an archived Astros home game, and listen for the banging. It’s always there. But there’s no way they could have done this in the playoffs right? They wouldn’t dare do it in the World Series…. right?
They absolutely did.
But what did Beltran have to do with the sign-stealing scheme? A lot according to the Commissioner’s Office.
“Approximately two months into the 2017 season, a group of players, including Carlos Beltrán, discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter.”
While Rob Manfred refrained from mentioning any currently active players, he decided to mention Carlos Beltrán, as he retired after the 2017 season, after winning a World Series ring with the Astros. That’s an interesting choice for Manfred to make, but since Beltran was in a high-profile position, perhaps his naming was done intentionally.
Regardless, the Mets have always lauded Beltrán’s ability to read the opposing teams’ gameplay, something Beltrán boasts about too.
“I’m not concerned,” he said in a text message to the New York Post, after the aforementioned Athletic story broke. “There’s nothing illegal about studying your opposite team.”
Mets GM Brodie van Wagenen echoed that same sentiment when discussing Beltrán’s hiring. ““Carlos is committed to beating his opponent. Why do I say that and why do I make that a point? Everybody wants to win, there’s no doubt about that. Most coaches show up everyday with the belief that they can try to get the best out of their players. Carlos has those two attributes. But he also takes it a step further. Carlos wants to beat his opponent. He looks at the little things. He looks for tips. He looks for any sort of weaknesses that he can exploit in his game planning. He did it as a player and we know that’s going to be a key part of his success as a manager.”
Brodie then added, “We can trust Carlos, and that goes a long way.”
Something that didn’t go a long way? Beltrán’s time as the Mets manager.
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