The Astros Cheated, But That Doesn't Necessarily Mean The Dodgers Would Have Won The 2017 World Series
There was big news in the baseball world this week that had fans of the Dodgers particularly steamed.
MLB officials determined that the Houston Astros used a camera-based sign stealing system all through the 2017 season and — here's why it's news in L.A. — the playoffs when they beat the Dodgers in the World Series.
In a nutshell, here's how it worked:
- The Astros used the cameras in center field (that every team has in their ballpark) to look at the signs the catcher was communicating to the pitcher through a monitor setup in a room near their dugout.
- Once they decoded the signs, they relayed that information to their hitters during the game.
- This is a big no-no.
I'm sure this is an outrage to many baseball fans, especially to all of the ones who wear blue caps with a white interlocking LA on them. But, really, if there is anyone or anything to blame for this scandal, it's the culture of the sport.
Historically, there's been quite a bit of nod/nod, wink/wink on how cheating in baseball is defined or even punished. For 22 years, pitcher Gaylord Perry was well-known to put his saliva, Vaseline and who knows what else on the ball to gain an advantage on hitters. Today he's in the Hall of Fame. In fact, he's remembered fondly as a spitballer.
Or think back to when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire were chasing Roger Maris' single season home run record. It was 1998, four years after a labor dispute caused the World Series to be cancelled. Both Sosa and McGuire had transformed themselves from lean, athletic ballplayers to muscle-bound mountains who could hit a ball a mile.
No one at the time seemed to want to know what it took for them to get there, especially not baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who was reaping an attendance and TV ratings bonanza. Once that wave had ebbed, MLB got serious about testing to clean up the sport.
There's a phrase "If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying." But that's a poor excuse for why a ballplayer would grease up a ball, inject steroids or use a camera to steal signs. Plenty of ballplayers are trying without cheating.
However, if you think that's the only reason they lost, then you've decided to forget Dodger batters left 10 runners on base and went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position at home in Game 7.
And before you say that the Astros would have never smacked Yu Darvish around as they did in those World Series starts, remember he admitted at the end of July he was tipping his pitches when he was with the Rangers before getting traded to the Dodgers. There's a chance they beat him fair and square because they were in L.A. and not in their Houston spy den for Game 7.
But if you want to argue the Astros should never have even been in the World Series, well, OK, you can be mad about that if you want to. It won't change anything, but you do you.