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Astros scandal dwarfed by MLB-wide sticky substance use

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 28: Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. speaks to the media during a press conference prior to game four of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park on October 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 28: Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. speaks to the media during a press conference prior to game four of the 2017 World Series between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers at Minute Maid Park on October 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The Hypocrisy

Bauer tried to blow the whistle on foreign substance use in 2018 but that resulted in the league, once again, doing nothing. This is how it always works — some form of cheating picks up steam, and because MLB looks the other way, other teams and players adopt the practice so they don’t fall behind. Regardless of what some will say, it was the same way with illegal sign stealing.

The Astros were far from the only team to use electronic means to steal signs and relay them to hitters — the article exposing the scheme even explicitly said it was a league-wide issue. The Astros’ method might have been a bit more brazen than others, but opposing fans who claim what the Astros did was different and far beyond what anyone else was doing are simply wrong.

And believe it or not, the reasoning behind the sign stealing scheme was much the same as pitchers’ reasoning for using sticky stuff. Carlos Beltran came to Houston and told his new teammates they were “behind the times,” and he’d just spent most of the past three seasons with the Yankees.

So the same logic applies here. If you believe other teams are cheating and thus have an advantage, and you also know MLB is doing nothing to stop it, you almost feel like you have to play along. The main difference is that, unlike pitchers using sticky stuff, the Astros sign stealing scheme didn’t actually help them, which is why they stopped it on their own.

Yet for some reason, fans across the league have adopted the belief that the Astros were the only ones stealing signs to that extent, and that somehow it was the reason they won the 2017 World Series. Despite the fact that it’s demonstrably false, it’s also highly hypocritical considering the Yankees and Red Sox have also been busted for sign stealing and the Dodgers entire pitching staff can pick up a baseball with their palms.

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