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Thread: Houston Astros

  1. #1
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    Houston Astros

    The Houston Astros have been amazing team for the last few seasons. They have built a strong group of players, who perform at a high level. But all of that seems secondary given the scandal they have created. Cheating in sports is not new. But seldom does baseball come down so hard on its participants. Here is what has come of it so far, as a result of Houston's sign stealing program:

    -Manager A.J. Hinch suspended for one year. Hinch was then fired by the Astros.
    -GM Jeff Luhnow suspended for one year. Luhnow was then fired by the Astros.
    -Former assistant GM Brandon Taubman suspended one year.
    -Astros forfeit their first- and second- round draft picks the next two years.
    -Astros fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under MLB's constitution.
    -Alex Cora, Houston's bench coach in 2017 and the Red Sox's manager since 2018, was fired by Boston. Boston is also being investigated for sign stealing, in their championship 2018 season.
    -Carlos Beltran, the only player named in MLB's investigation of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal, is out as manager of the New York Mets before beginning his first season with the team

    Other than Beltran, no other player has been implicated (so far). But it makes you scratch your head a little, given their knowledge and involvement.

    Like most sports, cheating is not exactly a lost art. Most of us were taught, no matter the sport, to play within the rules, but bend them and stretch them as much as we could. But if you go too far, don't get caught. Competitive advantage is crucial, the more competitive sports become, We are talking tiny amounts of separation, and if you can gain the slightest advantage, it is not "if" you are going to consider, but how and when, unless penalties would become a factor. I get it. I was not fast enough to cover some WRs, but I did know how to keep them close to me, and it was subtle, but it was borderline holding. And though this example was not cheating, I remember how the national dragon boat coach explained to our team how they were teaching a new method of extending oneself while paddling, because many of those races came down to a mere fraction of a second. So the story goes.....find that advantage, and for some, it means cheating. For some, it's just honest innovation.

    Baseball and scandals are not too common, but I think we've all heard of Shoeless Joe Jackson, He is remembered for his performance on the field and for his association with the Black Sox Scandal, in which members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox participated in a conspiracy to fix the World Series. As a result of Jackson's association with the scandal, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Major League Baseball's first commissioner, banned Jackson from playing after the 1920 season despite exceptional play in the 1919 World Series. Hey, he even made it to Field of Dreams, he was that well known!

    On the other hand, I think baseball messed up the Performance Enhancement era (is it even over in this and many other sports??), when it was clear that players became bigger and stronger and faster and who knows what else, thanks to drugs. The only good news, some will not likely be Hall of Famers as a result.

    A certain amount of cheating has been allowed for decades....including minor forms of sign stealing, doctored baseballs, corked bats, and so on. I suppose the actions were not large enough to be disciplined similarly, though there are plenty of examples of individuals being challenged for their behaviour. George Brett's bat was one for the ages. Plenty of pitchers who put sticky stuff on the baseballs, or wet stuff.

    But no matter what happens, Houston's World Series championship, and their return to The World Series, only to lose to Washington, is tainted for me. In fact I was pulling for Houston to beat The Nationals last season, but now I am glad they did not win.

    Further, I would be surprised if they are alone in this or a similar form of cheating.

  2. #2
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    https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/...vp-aaron-judge

    Pretty much what he said. Dudes lost careers because of this. I hope they are hounded and humiliated forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronco51 View Post
    https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/...vp-aaron-judge

    Pretty much what he said. Dudes lost careers because of this. I hope they are hounded and humiliated forever.
    Saw the interview. I completely get why the Altuve shirt thing is not going away anytime soon. I remember him holding on to it, and it seemed strange at the time. Given what came afterward, it makes a lot of sense. Even his answer when questioned, was bizarre...that his wife didn't like it. Cmon dude, the way he was rejecting the removal of his shirt leaves me not buying it.

    I may be wrong, but until I hear more and more decisive info that supports The Astros, I too have lost respect. Come to think of it....Altuve looked like he knew what Chapman was throwing. In fairness, he still had to hit it. But it put the odds more in his favour, because when a player knows the exact pitch as opposed to a variety of hard pitches to hit, he has a significant advantage.

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    Is stealing signs against the rules or is it the way they did it thatís the problem?
    Negs are Cowardly Acts of Nonsense. I wonít Back Down.
    No Matter How Stupid Your Comments Are!
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    Quote Originally Posted by broncolee View Post
    Is stealing signs against the rules or is it the way they did it that’s the problem?
    Here's a short piece of the discussion, according to the attached article:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sport...ling-baseball/

    Is it illegal to steal signs in MLB?

    Nope. It’s accepted tradition. Players and coaches try to steal their opponents’ signs, but they’ve traditionally done so mostly by watching the other team and trying to recognize patterns or sequences. Sign-stealing is as old as baseball itself. But stealing signs using camera, binoculars or other objects foreign to the game is illegal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CanDB View Post
    Here's a short piece of the discussion, according to the attached article:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sport...ling-baseball/

    Is it illegal to steal signs in MLB?

    Nope. Itís accepted tradition. Players and coaches try to steal their opponentsí signs, but theyíve traditionally done so mostly by watching the other team and trying to recognize patterns or sequences. Sign-stealing is as old as baseball itself. But stealing signs using camera, binoculars or other objects foreign to the game is illegal.
    This just illustrates that the reaction to the scandal is overblown.

    When Carlos Beltran goes from the Yankees to the Astros and tells the Astros that theyíre behind the times when it comes to stealing signs, that tells you that the Astros werenít the only team bending or breaking the rules.

    People are just mad that they did it better and won a World Series.
    Negs are Cowardly Acts of Nonsense. I wonít Back Down.
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    Quote Originally Posted by broncolee View Post
    This just illustrates that the reaction to the scandal is overblown.

    When Carlos Beltran goes from the Yankees to the Astros and tells the Astros that they’re behind the times when it comes to stealing signs, that tells you that the Astros weren’t the only team bending or breaking the rules.

    People are just mad that they did it better and won a World Series.
    I often let these things simmer before making a final conclusion, but this thing seems to be heating up. When players from other teams seem outraged, it suggests this is a bigger fish to fry.....and it's impact on outcomes appears to be much more impactful than other such issues. I read one small example how an Astros' utility player had a significant increase in OPS (on-base plus slugging %) in 2017, a key metric. Sure, it could be because he suddenly got better....but think of the impacts of the performance enhancement era, when stats significantly changed, like home runs. Opponent pitchers talk about how the Astros seemed to know the pitches, and would lay off the ones they knew they did not like. As for the player I mention, he got a good contract from Minnesota, which means he could very well be prospering because of the cheating that took place. I'll watch for his stats in the future.

    It's early still....but I think this will hang over The Astros for many years, and maybe involve more penalties. I will definitely be watching the team's ability to hit this season, muffled by the lack of technical support. If it stays roughly the same, I guess it was overly dramaticized. But if it drops off, the questions will continue to be asked.

    Regardless, the actions already taken by the MLB and the respective teams suggest this is to be taken seriously. Losing those high level draft picks matter. Folks losing their jobs matters. And I would assess, given the outcry, there will be more to come on this.
    Last edited by CanDB; 02-15-2020 at 11:53 AM.

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    The Nationals were given tips on how the Astros were cheating. Thatís how bad and egregious it was. Not overblown at all. How bad was it? Their new manager is asking the league to punish the pitchers who WILL throw chin music at them all season long. And punish those who slap tag a lot harder, or slide with bad intentions. They are marked men.

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    To me, cheating is cheating.

    Other teams were clearly cheating. They either just didnít get caught or what they were doing wasnít so egregious that anyone felt the need to complain.

    Donít complain when someone cheats better than you.

    I especially donít the like the Dodgers player complaining about the Astrosí players not being punished. The playersí union is the reason the players got immunity. Manfred didnít want to deal with that headache. Thatís on the players.
    Negs are Cowardly Acts of Nonsense. I wonít Back Down.
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    I am speculating, but I believe that The Astros far exceeded the usual scope of cheating. They had a very well planned system that incorporated technology. That is very different than players/coaches trying to visibly steal catcher's signals and relay them to hitters. The Astros deserve what they got....so far. I am quite sure they will not lose their World Series championship, or the awards/salaries they received for higher level performances, due to technological cheating.

    I don't think this is quite over either. More folks will come forward....some over sour grapes, but some legitimately.

    At minimum, expect a lot of booing when The Astros come to town! And yes, some chin music, and other "statements" during games.
    Last edited by CanDB; 02-15-2020 at 12:57 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by broncolee View Post
    To me, cheating is cheating.

    Other teams were clearly cheating. They either just didnít get caught or what they were doing wasnít so egregious that anyone felt the need to complain.

    Donít complain when someone cheats better than you.

    I especially donít the like the Dodgers player complaining about the Astrosí players not being punished. The playersí union is the reason the players got immunity. Manfred didnít want to deal with that headache. Thatís on the players.
    I totally understand your point about cheating is cheating, but to me what makes this so awful is that it was organizational. Not just Phil Kniekro tossing spit balls or a couple guys doing roids. Having staff members setting up cameras and relaying pitches to players using buzzers is systemic and the whole organization knew it. You just can't keep that secret between 'a few guys'. And then to have your owner say you don't think it affected the game? Unreal.

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    After listening to the radio it appears the Astros might have been guilty of the same thing as the Saints were with Bountygate. They were told to stop and didnít.
    Negs are Cowardly Acts of Nonsense. I wonít Back Down.
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    Lets just say that Houston will be disliked in every MLB city not named Houston.

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    Heard Correa's interview where he is quite straightforward about them being innocent. Saying things like, "get the facts". He may be correct, but he better be, because it is not the right PR move to come out swinging (unless you know what pitch is coming)…..unless you are innocent. The baseball world is listening, and the case is hardly over with.

    Given the team must have had PR meetings about the topic, I am a bit surprised that a player would be approaching it this way.....UNLESS they are actually telling the truth, OR the organization is not sure how to handle this. BUT you can not have individual players coming out on their own, unless they have been instructed to say certain things. otherwise it could really blow up in their faces.

    I think we all know that messing with the truth, even a little, is easily discovered on video. OK, we've seen the aggressive strategies in such cases, like in the performance enhancement investigation, when players flat out denied anything. It was sort of sad....but disappointing given I don't recall them all being 100% PE free. Then again, some have been judged to be guilty in spite of what they have said. Check out the Hall of Fame voting.

    But that (messing with the truth) still works in certain places in the world...….very sad.
    Last edited by CanDB; 02-17-2020 at 09:34 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanDB View Post
    Heard Correa's interview where he is quite straightforward about them being innocent. Saying things like, "get the facts". He may be correct, but he better be, because it is not the right PR move to come out swinging (unless you know what pitch is coming)…..unless you are innocent. The baseball world is listening, and the case is hardly over with.

    Given the team must have had PR meetings about the topic, I am a bit surprised that a player would be approaching it this way.....UNLESS they are actually telling the truth, OR the organization is not sure how to handle this. BUT you can not have individual players coming out on their own, unless they have been instructed to say certain things. otherwise it could really blow up in their faces.

    I think we all know that messing with the truth, even a little, is easily discovered on video. OK, we've seen the aggressive strategies in such cases, like in the performance enhancement investigation, when players flat out denied anything. It was sort of sad....but disappointing given I don't recall them all being 100% PE free. Then again, some have been judged to be guilty in spite of what they have said. Check out the Hall of Fame voting.

    But that (messing with the truth) still works in certain places in the world...….very sad.
    Correa said Altuve had an unfinished tattoo and that's why he wouldn't let his jersey come off, then, as usual, Twitter unearthed a photo 2 years later with no unflattering tattoo. Just lying for the sake of lying. These guys need to shut up and just try to play ball. Their accomplishments are all questionable and rightly so. No amount of spin will change that.

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