Houston Astros: What Sort Of Punishment Is The MLB About To Hand Out

It’s no secret that the Astros cheated thanks to MLB’s investigations. Recently, well known and highly respected USA Today Sportswriter Bob Nightengale put out a tweet that read, “MLB is expected to hand down one of the harshest penalties in sports history against the Astros when their investigation is completed by the end of the month.” The question is, what exactly is that punishment, and will it be something worthwhile or is Major League Baseball just flexing their muscle to end up settling with the Houston Astros.

This centers around protecting the integrity of the game, so it’s expected that this is not something that is going to go quietly in the night or result in a “slap on the wrist” like the Boston Red Sox received for the “Apple Watch” cheating scandal a few years ago. Just precisely what will Major League Baseball do to the Houston Astros? We won’t know just yet, but looking at some of the facts of the case, we can provide some conjecture.

First, if we go through the actual complaints, we can see who is involved. The Astros have been using a special camera system to be able to read managerial and catcher signs so they know what pitch or play is about to be called. One group of people involved is the players who participated in it and “banged on trashcans” to signal to their teammates what is coming. Another important person would be the manager for having a front-row seat to all this. The thing about their manager, AJ Hinch is, we aren’t sure if he played a “hear no evil, see no evil” approach, or if he actually encouraged it or even participated in it. With it being strategically placed cameras at the center of this, that includes everyone from the owner down to stadium and game operations staff.

The Houston Astros will not be able to take the New England Patriots approach of, “oh, that staff member was acting alone and we had no idea.” Due to how deep the cheating was. So what is Major League Baseball to do? For one thing, they are probably not going to take away their World Series trophy and hand it to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since, for anyone who watched that series, it became clear in game seven after further review that starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches on accident to the Astros hitters. Sorry Dodgers, no falling into a World Series. So what does that leave?

As previously stated this cheating scandal has some really deep roots. It’s almost as if the culture of the Astros has allowed or even encouraged this. It’s clear that with some of the decisions in the past that this organization only cares about one thing, winning. Even going to the point of signing someone found guilty of domestic violence and then mocking female members of the press in a press conference because of it. To be fair, they did end up letting go of that assistant manager, but only after severe backlash from fans and media.

With it being a cultural issue of allowing cheating and possibly encouraging it because “it means we win championships”. That means there’s only one thing left for Major League Baseball, clean house. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the commissioner stated that they have reviewed 75,000 emails and interviewed at least three current managers, an untold number of players, and dozens of major league personnel. With the size of this investigation, they should have a lot of evidence that hasn’t been released to the public yet, that shows the Houston Astros were indeed cheating.

Major League Baseball has to eliminate and replace the culture at the Houston Astros while sending a message to the rest of the league that this will not be tolerated. So if I had to guess, based on the evidence at hand and the size of the investigation. The Houston Astros will lose draft picks, have several key players and coaches suspended or fired, and their general manager will most likely be removed. It’s possible they could revoke ownership of the team as well, but something tells me that will not be the case. It’s about to be time for Major League Baseball to flex what power they have, let’s see if they do the right thing, or if greed wins in the end. 

How do you feel about the allegations against the Houston Astros? Leave a comment below.

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