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Let’s Talk About the Houston Astros Sign Stealing Scandal

Welcome to the darkest point in MLB History.

Let’s Talk About the Houston Astros Sign Stealing Scandal

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

For those of you who don’t know, the Athletic published a story last week 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?

Guess what…

They absolutely did.

This is not the first time that the Astros have been accused of cheating. In fact, during the 2018 playoffs the Red Sox complained to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

In an article aptly titled, “The Astros Ruin the Sanctity of Baseball, Apparently Caught Stealing Signs,” our own Chris Plonka reported the following:

During Game 3 of the ALDS, the Cleveland Indians discovered a man taking photos of their dugout, most likely to steal signs. This man, whose name I will not mention, was removed from Game 3, and it was hoped that that would be the last we would hear from him…

We were wrong. The Indians apparently warned the Red Sox about this incredibly illegal behavior, and in Game 1 of the ALCS, the cheaters were discovered again. The same man was discovered taking pictures and stealing signs from the Red Sox dugout!

While this man is not officially an Astros employee, his now deleted Instagram account has shown him with Jim Crane and in front of a private plane owned by the Astros and Jim Crane’s companies. Pretty suspicious if you ask me.

…The MLB announced that they will not be punishing the Astros, but did send a warning to the teams. This is not enough. We cannot tolerate this in this league, and especially in the postseason.”

So the MLB cleared the Astros of the allegations, but the Astros kept on cheating with their whistles and garbage cans. That’s incredibly bold of them, unless they pulled back after the ALDS, which would explain their 4-1 loss to the eventual Champions, the Boston Red Sox.

Because the fact of the matter is that seemingly overnight, the Houston Astros became a powerhouse.

After winning only 45% of their games in the previous 4 seasons, the Astros went from a mid-tier team to a perennial powerhouse, winning 64% of their games over the next three seasons. In the blink of an eye, the Astros became one of the best hitting teams in the entire league.

The worst part of all of this is that we all chalked it up to the fact that this was a perfectly put together baseball team. One that was sculpted and formed from the ashes of a franchise in ruin.

The Houston Astros were the phoenix rising from the ashes, the gold standard of perfection in baseball, they were the dream realized.

And now we know why.

Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be hearing a lot of things coming out about the Astros. From the way they ran their organization to the beginnings of the sign-stealing scheme, it’s going to be awful. Lots of awfulness that is no doubt going to make us all lose our minds. The important thing to remember is this.

No one knows what’s happening. It’s important to let the facts come out. The MLB has never seen a rampant cheating scandal on such a prominent level. Three MLB head coaches have been implicated in the creation and implementation of the plan. One team was robbed of a World Series ring. The AL West lost out on millions of dollars in revenue as the Astros continued to cheat their way to the top.

I’m thankful for people like Jomboy, who are fighting the fight and doing the hard investigative work. The work I have done on this issue is tertiary at best. An while I’m working to get all the info that’s out there, it’s going to take months before we know anything.

But brushing this off as nothing and saying that this is all nonsense is the dumbest thing you can say.

I understand if you’re a die-hard Astros fan and you can’t fathom your team, the one you hold so close and dear to your heart, would ever do something like this. I’m a Patriots fan, so I know what it’s like to have people look at your team and call them cheaters. It sucks. But you know what’s worse? Saying from the outset “nothing happened, this is all lies, this is nonsense.” The crazier thing is that oddly enough, that sentiment scans with the Houston Astros favorite public statement.

So you can already tell they understand the gravity of this moment since they haven’t put out a statement other than “No Comment.”

Why? Because this is potentially the worst scandal in baseball history.

This is worse than the Black Sox scandal. Even worse than Pete Rose betting on baseball. Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds breaking the home run records pales in comparison. This is the biggest asterisk be placed in the history books of America’s favorite pastime.

Welcome to the darkest moment in baseball.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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