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Houston Astros cheated their way to a World Series

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    You can steal signs in baseball. That's not cheating. Meaning you can pick up on what the other team is signaling to the pitcher and then signal to your hitter in real time what kind of pitch you believe is coming. That's part of the game and has been basically since the beginning. Most call it gamesmanship.

    What you cannot do is what the Houston Astros have been accused of doing during the 2017 season, where they went on to win the World Series against the Yankees, which is use electronic equipment to get video evidence of signs and then signal that to the hitter in real time. Here's an exert of the story, from an NBC News article:

    Four people associated with the Astros during the 2017 season said the team used a camera in the outfield to steal the signs that catchers flash to pitchers during home games, the subscription sports site The Athletic reported. That was the year the Astros won their only World Series title.

    The Athletic quoted Mike Fiers, a pitcher who threw a no-hitter for the Astros in 2015, and three other unidentified people affiliated with the Astros as saying that during the 2017 season, players and other employees would monitor opposing catchers' signals using a camera in center field of the team's stadium, Minute Maid Park.

    When they decided they had decoded the signals, Astros personnel would signal what pitch was coming to the batter — banging loudly on a trash can if it was a breaking ball or an off-speed pitch, according to The Athletic.

    This is far from just accusation. There's video evidence which makes it extremely clear this actually happened:

    We don't know how many times the Astros did this during the 2017 season. Maybe every game? We don't know for sure if they did it during the World Series, though its VERY curious that the Astros lost every away game vs the Yankees that year in the ALCS but won every home game.

    Banging on a trashcan or whistling or whatever method(s) they used to cheat with this camera system isn't exactly fool proof, if the stadium is too loud it can drown out the banging or whatever. But it would work in a lot of games. And the obvious fact of the matter is they cheated at least throughout the 2017 season.

    What do you think the MLB should do about this? Is this grounds for stripping away their title for that year? Can they be punished for this going forward as well somehow, maybe with losing draft picks or trade freezes or something?

    We also don't have any evidence the Astros have been cheating in a similar fashion after the 2017 season, but my guess is they have been. And probably were before 2017. The league needs to make an example of the Astros, I agree with this:

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    Dallasite Wrote: What do you think the MLB should do about this? Is this grounds for stripping away their title for that year? Can they be punished for this going forward as well somehow, maybe with losing draft picks or trade freezes or something?

    I absolutely think that something needs to be done. Stripping away their title would be unprecedented, but if there is legitimate reason to say they got that title by cheating then maybe an unprecedented action needs to be taken. The only problem is that the Yankees didn't "win" the World Series, so I don't really know if I'd be okay with giving it to them.

    Losing draft picks just seems like too light of a penalty. I'm almost in favor of something more drastic, like a postseason ban for 2-3 years. The NCAA doesn't seem to have a problem handing those down. Maybe MLB should do the same.

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    As this starts to really unfold, the punishment discussion gets really interesting and confusing. As first blush you think all the punishment will fall directly on the Astros organization as a whole. But now that names are coming out into who was actually responsible for choreographing this cheating, you have to wonder if the punishments will be more targeted.

    The three names that are being talked about as being at the center of this cheating are AJ Hinch, Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran. So Hinch was the Astros manager in 2017 and still is. So that one is pretty clean as far as punishment goes, as he is still with the organization. But Cora was the Astros bench coach at the time but is now the manager of the Red Sox. And Carlos Beltran was a player for the Astros at the time but is now the manager of the NY Mets.

    So you have the current managers of the Mets and the Red Sox who will possibly be fired or suspended from the league, and fined of course. And then the Astros with Hinch, same thing.

    Then you have to wonder about which players knew about it? I'm guessing all of them. So the entire 2017 Astros roster, no matter what team they play for now, is possibly on the hook for punishment. And same goes for anyone else 'in the know' during that time, regardless of what franchise they are with now.

    Just crazy to think this investigation could end with not only a steep punishment for the Astros organization, but it could take down multiple managers and players from teams across the whole MLB.