Every Right to be Angry
While Lance McCullers and Josh Reddick both refuted a report from a New York sportswriter that the Astros are angry and out to prove the haters wrong, it would make perfect sense if they were. In fact, they should be. They’ve not only taken the fall for a league-wide problem, they’ve also been accused of doing things they didn’t even do.
Illegal sign stealing has been taking place since the turn of the century in all sorts of different ways. The Astros were by no means the first to use cameras to steal signs; they’re just the ones who had a former player rat them out to the media. If Mike Fiers hadn’t gotten shelled by the Astros in 2019 and decided to throw his old team under the bus, most fans wouldn’t know or care.
Part of it also has to do with the fact that the Astros won the World Series. If the Dodgers had won it in 2017, you wouldn’t see this degree of vitriol directed at Houston. Of course the Red Sox cheated and won a title the next year, but they’ve escaped this type of derision partially because they’re a big market, east coast team that’s supposed to win. It also helps that, since they didn’t have Fiers, they were able to pin their violations on a video guy.
We know the Yankees were cheating as well, as both they and the Red Sox were busted in 2017. Carlos Beltran came to Houston at the beginning of that year and told the Astros they were behind the times, and he’d spent most of the last three years in the Bronx. It’s also very telling that the Yankees are fighting tooth and nail to keep a letter sealed that they’ve admitted would damage their reputation.
Accusations have also been thrown at other teams like the Dodgers, Brewers, Rangers and Mets, but none of those were ever investigated. But even the article from The Athletic that broke the Astros sign stealing scandal was clear that Houston was not the only team engaging in these activities. Their trash can scheme may have been more brazen than most, but this was something that was clearly happening around the league.
Yet for some reason opposing fans and media types act like the Astros were solely responsible for soiling the integrity of the game. They accuse the players of not being able to hit without cheating and make up ridiculous and unfounded stories about buzzers. Anytime Altuve or Correa hits a home run, they spout off the same tired lines about trash cans like broken records.
Players who no longer play for the Astros, such as Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Marisnick, have escaped such ridicule despite the fact that they were two of the most obvious beneficiaries of the scheme due to their career years in 2017. Altuve, Correa, George Springer and Alex Bregman have been just fine without the sign stealing, and players who weren’t even on the team back then (such as Michael Brantley and Yordan Alvarez) even get the insults thrown their way.