March 22, 2020 at 5:20 pm
The Houston Astros have cheated everyone who loves the game of baseball, and with giving only mere punishment to Houston for their actions, Major League Baseball has begun to lose the trust of fans and has lost its power and professionalism. When former-Astros pitcher Mike Fiers spoke out about the 2017 World Series titleholders using cameras to steal signs during their championship season, shock and heartbreak arose for many including myself in the baseball world. As a high-school student who idolizes and admires the players, managers and owners involved with the MLB, the lack of punishment for the actions of Houston makes me worry that the league has completely ignored the many negative effects. Furthermore, it makes me, and many others, question the loyalty of the MLB.
With all the harm and chaos that was caused by the hostile acts of the Astros came only a slight punishment: a yearlong suspension for manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow (who were soon after fired by Houston), a $5 million fine (to a team valued at $1.8 billion) and the loss of first- and second-round draft picks in both 2020 and ’21. However, this punishment does not enforce the severity of their actions, nor does it pose a threat to other teams who may look for ways to gain an advantage in the future. It also does not go far enough as to make Houston regret cheating – a word defined as “to act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.” The Astros did just this, bringing down other organizations and individuals with it while winning the 2017 World Series, and deserve a far harsher punishment than what they received: having their 2017 title stripped.
The Astros stole signs, allowing them to have an unfair advantage over every MLB team, and ultimately used their cheating prowess to win the World Series. On the opposite side of this World Series victory are the Dodgers and Yankees, who fell just short of victory, changing the lives of those involved and employed by these valuable and prominent franchises. With a World Series victory comes money, and not just a slim amount, for every player, manager, and team personnel. As Los Angeles and New York were co-favorites to become champions in 2017, the individuals associated with each team, with either likely to win the World Series had the Astros avoided these acts, lost just south of $500,000 – enough money to change one’s life.
Along with this, the fanbase for both LA and NY missed out upon what would have been an assiduous and well-deserved World Championship. It would have been LA’s first World Championship since 1988, and New York’s first since 2009.
Furthermore, following the conclusion of the 2017 MLB season, José Altuve of the Astros was named the American League Most Valuable Player over the Yankees’ Aaron Judge. At the time this decision drew much controversy, as many felt Judge deserved the award, slashing a remarkable .284/.422/.627 while driving home 114 runs with 52 homeruns. As the news of the cheating scandal emerged, it became even more clear that not only was it Judge who should have been named the 2017 AL MVP, but that Altuve deprived him of one of the most impressive, illustrious, and historical awards in all of sports through an illegal sign stealing scheme.
In addition, the Astros also robbed several individuals of series MVP’s and postseason awards throughout their playoff run.
Finally, former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mike Bolsinger filed a lawsuit in February of 2020, claiming that the cheating Houston Astros changed the course of his career. Bolsinger, who claims that there’s a message to be sent to the youth that “you don’t have to cheat to get where you want to go,” didn’t enter another major league game after facing the Astros and allowing a whopping four runs, four hits, and three walks in a third of an inning during a game in Houston on August 4, 2017. Bolsinger feels that the Astros should forfeit the roughly $31 million in bonuses from their World Series title.
While commissioner Rob Manfred called disciplining players “impractical” because it would be difficult to assign proper blame, every single member of the Astros knew, even in the moment, that what they were doing was indeed against the rules and therefore cheating. Houston should have their 2017 World Series title stripped, causing a blank year in the history books, and José Altuve should be forced to vacate the 2017 AL MVP and award it to Aaron Judge. Unlike the Dodgers and Yankees who earned their spot in the championship series of their respective leagues, among the other teams who earned a spot in the 2017 MLB Postseason, the Astros did not, nor did they earn their championship victory.
Having the title and award(s) stripped would show that cheating in Major League Baseball in order to gain an advantage and eventual victory, let alone professional sports, will not be tolerated. The MLB must assert and demonstrate the importance of honor and integrity. The league is doing itself a disservice with these minimal punishments, threatening the future generations of baseball as the reputation of the sport, and the viewpoint of consumers, is at risk of being damaged.
- This discussion was modified 2 months ago by _rexkap.
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