Cameras, garbage cans, and a bullpen catcher — who knew that was the winning recipe in the major leagues?
The Houston Astros apparently did. As MLB commissioner Rob Manfred further pursues the investigation, the end result looks more and more troublesome for Houston.
As a New York Yankees fan, what do I think should be done? Obviously I think the Yankees should play the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2017 World Series this offseason. But in reality, let’s discuss what has been going down for Houston ever since the allegations.
Ex-Astros pitcher Mike Fiers told subscription-based sports website The Athletic shortly after the Washington Nationals defeated the Astros in the World Series that the Astros cheated during their championship season in 2017, and that the system they had set up was quite ludicrous.
According to Fiers, the Astros had a man with a camera in center field, pointed at the opposing catcher, picking up their signs. The recordings from the camera were able to be viewed from a monitor that was placed in the clubhouse, just steps away from the field. Next to the monitor was a trash can. This is where it gets ridiculous.
Before we get into what the club did with all of these props, baseball writer and Youtuber Jomboy did some deep digging and found this clip from the Houston Astros 2017 World Series documentary.
Pictured in the clip is the trash can, a laptop and some dangling wires going down the wall, hinting at where the monitor was placed. You can also see some strategic towel placement over the opening where it’s possible to look out to home plate.
With the ability to see the catcher’s signs from the clubhouse, someone would whack the garbage can if a breaking ball was called. This would signal to the batter that a breaking pitch was coming. If a changeup was called the garbage can was struck twice, and for a fastball there was no bang.
Jomboy furthered his own investigation, and discovered some suspicious at bats during the 2017 season. Take a look at his video below to get a better idea of what is going on.
If you think that is just a coincidence, here are some more at bats.
If you keep digging, you’ll find tons of other at bats where the Astros utilize the trash can. This gives a ballclub a huge advantage and their batting numbers will definitely back that up.
Here are some home and away split stats for a few Astros players during the 2017 postseason, from Tyler Talks Sports on Twitter.
Everything changes when you do not have a monitor and a trash can in your club house. These key Astros players were on fire at home, but abysmal on the road.
It does not stop there.
Many other Astros cheating tactics began to unfold once this instance became apparent.
In the 2019 American League Championship Series (ALCS) between the Astros and Yankees, New York accused Houston of using some sort of whistle as an attempt to steal signs. Houston immediately denied this.
In the clip below, again posted by Jomboy, you can hear that whistle noise, but there is not enough evidence to turn it against the Astros…yet.
Additionally, according to CBS, the Astros may have been using an electronic bandage to relay signals to the players. I cannot stress enough how much work Jomboy has put into this because everything stated in this article has been looked into by him.
He found this frame from a Houston game in this year’s World Series:
Pictured is catcher Robinson Chirinos, with what appears to be one of those bandages that CBS reported. Investigation in that department has not opened yet, but it is only a matter of time until it does.
Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Carson Smith also took to Twitter to share some insight that he had about this issue.
According to Smith, the Astros would put a bullpen catcher up against the fence in the outfield, able to be seen from the batter’s box. If the catcher’s hands were up on the fence, a breaking ball was coming. No hands on meant a fastball.
The MLB began their investigation and right off the bat they found an email that did not make Astros executive Kevin Goldstein look good. Per Fox News, Goldstein sent an email to scouts asking them to cheat for them back in 2017.
The email reads: “One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout. What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to [the] game, see what you can [or can’t] do and report back your findings.”
There will definitely be a few names out of a job in the Houston Astros organization, and that list of names will surely grow once the league sorts it all out.
I will give the Astros the slightest bit of credit and say that their ideas were quite clever, but cheaters never win and it was only a matter of time until someone ratted them out…thank you Mike Fiers.
Obviously, there needs to be more investigation in all of these realms, but the proof is all potentially right here. Commissioner Manfred said that the Astros could be in for a punishment unlike anything seen before in MLB history.
I would love to see a postseason ban, a vacated 2017 World Series win for Houston, as well as the team getting stripped of some draft picks. There is no room for cheating at the major league level, and we may get to witness one of baseball’s biggest powerhouses meet its demise.
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