Why Astros scandal is a 'major black mark' against baseball

Ruben Hill
January 14, 2020

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced his findings after investigating the Houston Astros for sign-stealing, a scandal that prominently involved the Los Angeles Dodgers and 2017 World Series.

"We need to move forward with a clean slate", Astros owner Jim Crane said at a hastily called press conference to address the news. The team has also lost its first- and second-round draft picks for the 2020 and 2021 drafts and will be fined $5 million, according to The Athletic.

MLB warned Luhnow and Hinch that any further violation of these rules will result in being placed on the league's permanently ineligible list.

Cora served as Astros bench coach in 2017. Brandon Taubman, fired as Houston's assistant GM during the the 2019 ALCS for his outburst against female reporters in the Houston locker room, was suspended for a year.

"Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs". The Indians, for instance, knew they had to change their signs repeatedly when they played the Astros, especially at Minute Maid Park.

Carlos Beltran, a player on the 2017 Astros and now the manager of the Mets, does not face a suspension, nor do any other players on that year's team.

Takeaway: After Cora left the team to take over as Red Sox manager, the use of the replay room dissipated. "However, Hinch admits he did not stop it and he did not notify players or Cora that he disapproved of it".

The investigation was initiated after former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mike Fiers, who pitched for the Astros in 2017, went public with allegations of an elaborate sign-stealing system used by his former team.

"Hinch neither devised the banging scheme nor participated in it. Hinch told my investigators that he did not support his players decoding signs using the monitor installed near the dugout and banging the trash can, and he believed that the conduct was both wrong and distracting". The runner would decode the catcher's sign and signal the batter. However, he noted that the "evidence consistently showed I didn't endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices". At times, an employee in the replay room would convey the information by text message to the watch or phone of a staff member in the dugout.

The 2017 World Series title is absolutely tainted.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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