MLB concluded its two-month investigation of the Houston Astros, determining that the organization crossed a line by electronically stealing signs through the 2017 postseason.
The issue was first brought to light by former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers earlier this offseason, who revealed that a center field camera at Minute Maid Park had been installed to capture signs of opposing catchers.
With enough evidence being found to support this, MLB handed down some of the harshest penalties in the league’s history, suspending both general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for the entire 2020 season.
Houston was also stripped of their first and second-round draft picks for the next two years and fined the maximum $5 million. Astros owner Jim Crane took matters to another level when he announced during a press conference that Luhnow and Hinch had been fired.
While Crane condemned the actions of those involved, he insisted that the organization’s 2017 World Series victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers is still legitimate:
“I think absolutely not. I think we’ve had a very good team for a number of years before ’17 when we were turning the corner; ’18, ’19, we have a very good team on the field this year. I think we’ll have a great season, have a lot of great players still. I don’t think it taints it.”
Although Crane attempted to preserve the validity of the Astros’ championship season, most around baseball strongly disagree with the sentiment. How the club performed in October that year is one of the biggest driving forces.
The Astros posted an 8-1 record at Minute Maid Park during the 2017 postseason as opposed to just a 3-6 mark on the road. Their only loss at home came in Game 4 of the World Series, when they struggled to get the bats going against Alex Wood.
The left-hander, who recently returned to the Dodgers on a one-year contract, held Houston to just one hit in 5.2 innings of work. Wood deemed the outing one of the proudest moments of his career, noting that he often changed his signs with Austin Barnes to prevent the Astros from picking anything up.
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