On January 13, the highly anticipated punishment for the Houston Astros was announced.
For those not familiar with the situation, the Astros set up a camera in the outfield during home games to zoom in on what signs were coming from the catcher. The signs would relay the types of pitches that would be thrown to the hitters. These signs included a loud bang or multiple bangs on trash cans. After an investigation from Major League Baseball, it was determined that the Astros cheated in several games in 2017, including the World Series, as well as games during the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The Astros’ punishment was one of the hardest-hitting ever given in sports. The team would lose their first and second-round draft picks in 2021 and 2022, be fined five million dollars, and have their manager and general manager suspended for the entirety of the 2020 season.
However, manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Lunhow will not serve their suspensions with the team, as both were dismissed about an hour after the punishment was announced. The team’s former assistant general manager, Brian Taubman, was also suspended for one year but had already been fired for offensive comments directed at female reporters during the team’s celebration for winning the ALCS.
Red Sox Investigation
One person who has yet to be disciplined in this is former Astros bench coach and current Red Sox manager, Alex Cora. Cora was named as one of the main people involved in arranging the Astros’ cheating method and now the Red Sox are under investigation for cheating during the 2018 season. This is the second scandal involving the Red Sox, with the team getting caught using smartwatches in 2017. Former manager John Farrell assured league officials that the team would never commit that type of violation again. That statement could end up being a factor in how severe the punishment for the Red Sox is.
As far as individual punishments, former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said he didn’t know of any cheating methods during the 2018 season. Despite being fired in the 2019 season and still unemployed, he could face punishment. The harshest punishment out of all of this will likely be given to Alex Cora, who has been involved with two scandals on two different teams. Both teams won the World Series, which will taint both of those victories in the eyes of fans (particularly the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost both the 2017 and 2018 World Series to both the Astros and Red Sox in those respective years).
It is unclear what the punishment will be for the Red Sox, but the punishment given to Cora will likely be significantly harsher than what was given to Lunhow and Hinch. It could even be a lifetime ban for his actions with both teams.
While teams steal signs, the “acceptable” way is usually to do it with a base runner on second base. High tech sign stealing in games that the Astros and Red Sox participated in is unacceptable. All eyes will be on Commissioner Rob Manfred when he announces the completion of the investigation into the Red Sox and is ready to announce the punishment given to both the team and individuals.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.