Foul Ball, Foul Play: The Major League Baseball Cheating Scandal


Ella Menin

The MLB world was rocked by a cheating scandal involving former champions the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox.

While the Major League Baseball World Series ended in Oct., baseball is back in the news for a cheating scandal that potentially could have altered the championship results: the Houston Astros were caught stealing signs from opposing teams using technology.

The Astros’ cheating started in the 2017 season through a center field camera that recorded the hand signals of the opposing teams’ catcher. The camera sent the footage to a replay room where bench coach Alex Cora worked on decoding the signs and communicating them to players on the field. These signals could indicate whether a pitch was a fastball or an off-speed pitch, which  provided a significant advantage to the Astros when they were up to bat. Later, the Astros had footage of the signals just outside the dugout allowing players to look at it during the game and communicate to others by banging on trash cans.

The Astros have been formally investigated by the MLB and their consequences have been delivered. The commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred took away the Astros’ first two draft picks for the next two drafts, the most picks ever taken away as a penalty. In addition, field manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended a year by MLB and later fired by the Astros’ owner. 

Some called for the removal of the Astros 2017 World Series championship and the Boston Red Sox’s 2018 World Series championship, as they are also accused of sign stealing.  

Cam High math teacher, Mr. Charlie Fiacco said, “This was done by a whole organization and a whole team using equipment and back rooms. I would take away [The Astros] championship but you can’t give it away to another team because you don’t know whether they were doing it throughout the whole playoffs so maybe another team would have won.”

Mr. Donald Montijo, Cam High math teacher, has a different view than Fiacco. “I think the punishment is pretty fair because it is at an organizational level and not just one player so they should be punished. They suspended two of the Astro’s leaders who it happened under their watch and punished the program through draft picks so I think it is fair,” he said.

John Villapando Cam High Senior and avid Dodgers fan said, “As a Dodgers fan the punishment inflicted on the Astros for cheating was minuscule compared to the heartbreak we had to endure for losing that World Series in 7 games against them.” 

Villapando does not think the punishments go far enough, but he does welcome the league giving the trophy to the Dodgers, “I don’t think changing the result of the World series will do much. What’s done is done. My team would not want to just receive the trophy because of cheating scandal. We’d think of that gesture as more of a pity reward.”

In the end, the Astros will not have their 2017 World Series taken away as the investigation has come to a close. The precedent is then set for the Red Sox, who, if found guilty of the same type of cheating, will not have their title taken away either.

General Manager Alex Cora was the most involved person in the scandal and he has ‘mutually parted ways’ with the Boston Red Sox. He was the general manager during the 2018 and 2019 seasons. 

Cora was the bench coach for the Astros during their 2017 World Series run and moved to the Red Sox the next season, bringing with him suspicions of continuing sign-stealing to Boston. There have been three anonymous sources reporting the Red Sox using the same cheating techniques the Astros did. The MLB is currently investigating this separate scandal and nothing is confirmed.