Astros: Where is the outcry against the players’ behavior?
By Brian Murray
Astros Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch took the fall in the sign-stealing saga. But what about the players that knowingly cheated? Where does the blame really lie?
This may be an unpopular stance. But I see fingers pointing every which way, laying the fault on Hinch, Luhnow, Alex Cora, and Jim Crane. I’ve even seen people trying to put the blame on MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and whistleblower Mike Fiers. None of them were the ones strategically relocating monitors and banging on trash cans. It was the Astros‘ players, period.
If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest everyone read the nine-page report released by the commissioner describing the findings of the MLB investigation. I found it very eye-opening and disturbing on many levels.
I know a lot of you are going to declare, everyone did it, all of the teams are stealing signs and have been for decades. That may be true. But does that make it right? Does that excuse the Astros players for devising a scheme that seems to go above and beyond what some may say is “acceptable” cheating?
The report states that the Department of Investigation (DOI) conducted interviews with 68 different people, 23 of those were current and former players for the Houston Astros. Tens of thousands of text messages, emails, videos and photographs were poured over by the investigators. To say that this was a thorough investigation would be an understatement.
In the investigation, it was learned that the sign-stealing game plan was devised by the players and conducted by the players. There was apparently some guidance by Alex Cora and a few other low-level personnel, but primarily a player-driven cheating mechanism.
It was decided from the onset of the investigation that any players involved would be protected from any punishment or the release of their names. The only player that was mentioned in the report was Carlos Beltran, the Mets current manager, and the apparent leader of the operation.
It was discovered that a large majority of the players of the 2017 Houston team were involved in the process one way or the other. Most of those interviewed even expressed that they knew what they were doing was wrong and against MLB rules.
At one point, when the players thought that they were caught in the act by an opposing team’s player, they panicked and hid one of the monitors in an office after the game. What does that tell you? They obviously knew to what extent they were crossing the line. But did that deter them? No. They simply decided to use a portable monitor to be more discreet.
Many of the players even knew that Hinch was aware of the situation and iterated that if he had told them to stop, they would have ended it. They knew he didn’t like what was taking place. Did that stop them? Nope.
These actions continued to take place throughout the 2017 season and went on into a portion of the 2018 season. Players that were interviewed expressed that the reason they shelved the whole operation was that they decided it didn’t help the batters after all. So what does that tell me? If it was indeed successful, they would have continued with their cheating ways until caught.
Yes, Luhnow and Hinch are ultimately the two men in charge and are responsible for what their players do on the field. They definitely should not have gone unpunished and to what degree the disciplinary action should have taken place is up for debate. But the players getting off scot-free? Not sure if that was the best way to go.
This whole scandal situation is very disturbing and disappointing. Do you want your children and Little League players idolizing players that go to this extreme to win games? Can we just carry on this season and cheer them on as if nothing happened? I feel that these players owe the fans of the Houston Astros an apology for their actions and at the very least, a deep heartfelt apology to AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow, the ones that took the fall for the players’ misdeeds.