MLB Cheating Scandal


On Nov. 13, 2019, the Houston Astros were accused of stealing opponents signs throughout the regular season and the postseason. The Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series in 7 games.Four people associated with the Astros during that time said they used a camera behind center field to see what signs the catcher was putting down.

When they figured out the opposing teams’ signs, players then banged on a trash can indicating what type of pitch is being thrown. The banging on the trash can was used for an off-speed pitch or a breaking ball. 


Since the beginning of baseball, teams have tried to steal signs as an advantage in the game. What’s different with the Astros is that they used electronic equipment, which is considered cheating.


There has also been allegations of the Astros cheating in different ways. Carson Smith, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, said that the Astros installed monitors in both teams’ bullpens. Smith stated that while security guards and scorekeepers were constantly watching the Astros monitor, the Red Sox monitor was ineffective. 

On Monday, Jan. 13, Major League Baseball decided to suspend manager AJ Hinch and president Jeff Luhnow for one year, followed by giving a franchise the maximum fine of 5 million dollars. The team has also lost their 2020 and 2021 first and second round picks. Later that day, owner Jim Crane released AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow. No Astros players were penalized for the scandal.


The following season, the Boston Red Sox went on to win the World Series, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in just five games. What the MLB didn’t know was that the last two World Series champions were using technology in order to give themselves a massive advantage. But it wasn’t a coincidence that two different teams cheated in consecutive years. 


Alex Cora, manager of the 2018 Boston Red Sox and 2017 bench coach for the Houston Astros, was the person who thought of using technology to steal signs. 


During the 2018 season, the Red Sox used their replay room that was steps away from the dugout that managers use to challenge plays. With all the cameras and technology in the replay room, this was an easy way to find footage of the catcher signaling signs to the pitcher. Whenever the team had a runner on second base, the runner would exchange the catcher signs they learned from the replay room to the batter before every pitch was thrown. 


Unlike the Astros, the Red Sox are still under investigation and have not received any form of consequence. Cora was released by the Red Sox on January 14, because the team is expecting the MLB to give Cora a significant suspension. 


The following day, the New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran stepped down as manager for allegedly being involved in the scandal with the Astros. This year would have been Beltran’s first season managing a team after he retired from baseball in 2018.