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MLB Sign Stealing Scandal


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By now the scope and breadth of what the Houston Astros were doing from 2017-2019 is well-documented.  I'm sure we'll hear more in the coming months about exactly what the Red Sox were up to in 2018 as well, I don't get the sense that story has been fully told.  With as much attention as this has received I think from punishment standpoint the participants involved have gotten off fairly easy.  Yes, three different MLB Managers lost their jobs, as well as front office positions in Houston.  There was a $5M fine for the Astros (the most that MLB was self-authorized to assess) and a loss of international pool picks (the latter stings far more than the former, the fine is chump change).  Players not materially affected will carry the stigma of this, and the evidence is clear that basically the entire line up is implicated in one way or another.

Who else gets the feeling that the MLB head office is jumping with joy that they may get away with this being sum total of the fallout?!?  Here is a World Series champion caught red-handed not two weeks after the Series!  Nobody questions that they cheated and gained a not-negligible advantage! Yet they've been able to deftly shift the discussion away from "So, should the Astros 2017 Championship be revoked?".  There is SO MUCH going on here, and it's hard to even pin down my thoughts on what MLB should have done.  Taking away a World Series trophy is a very big step, and in many senses there is absolutely no walking that back when this happens again (yes, something similar will happen again).  The best MLB can hope for is to take very big steps against individual actors and hope the baseball-watching public sees justice.  In the eyes of The Game those players are disposable.

"But sign stealing is as old as baseball itself!", they say, and that is undoubtedly true.  Technology has changed the way baseball fundamentally operates, so that fact that it's also being used to change the way teams cheat isn't surprisingly, but it's made it easier to catch those who are cheating, too!  I've only scratched the surface here, this topic has tentacles that reach in a dozen different directions.

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