The Houston Astros Should Forfeit Their 2017 World Series Title For Cheating

Opinion

On+Nov.+1%2C+2017%2C+the+Houston+Astros+won+the+2017+World+Series+championship+by+beating+the+Los+Angeles+Dodgers.+Two++years+later%2C+it+was+reported+that+the+team+had+cheated+by+using+a+live+camera+feed+to+watch+for+opposing+catchers%27+signs+to+the+pitchers.

Photo By Houston Astros

On Nov. 1, 2017, the Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series championship by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers. Two years later, it was reported that the team had cheated by using a live camera feed to watch for opposing catchers' signs to the pitchers.

By Maya Gangadharan, Photographer

Back in 2017, many sports fans in Houston were extremely proud that the baseball team representing them, the Houston Astros, beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series championship. The victory brought the city great joy and did an especially good job cheering them up after Hurricane Harvey had hit a few months before. The people of Houston were honored that the Astros were making strides to relevancy after earning their title. 

Despite all their triumph, however, the glory was short-lived. The Astros are now being looked at in a different light after it was revealed that they had been sign stealing in order to win. Sign stealing occurs when the batter observes the signals the catcher sends the pitcher that let him know how he should throw the baseball. Based on what he finds out, the batter swings in a specific way that correlates with how the ball was thrown in order to get a hit. 

In some cases, sign stealing is considered totally fair. However, in the Astros’ case, it was definitely cheating. Live footage of the game from the centerfield camera was being relayed in the dugout, where someone would bang a code on the lid of a trash can based on the sign they saw the catcher give. The batter would then hear this and know exactly what pitch was coming, allowing him to give the perfect swing. This would all happen in the span of seconds right before the ball was pitched. The team’s usage of people who weren’t on the field at the time and shouldn’t have been interfering helped them win the World Series illegally. 

The Houston Astros have already faced many repercussions for what they did. They were fined $5 million and prohibited from drafting new players for the next season. To top things off, General Manager Jeff Luhnow and Manager A.J. Hinch were both suspended and later fired for blatantly turning blind eyes to what the players were up to. Alex Cora, who was Houston’s bench coach and considered the mastermind behind it all, was fired from the Red Sox team. 

This all may seem to be enough penalty for the team, but what about the players? They’re more at fault for going along with Cora’s plan in hopes that there would be no consequences, and they certainly don’t deserve to keep their champions title. They shouldn’t even be allowed on the team anymore, lest they attempt to do something like this again.

The idea that the Astros should forfeit their champions title is a no-brainer, and it seems to be a very popular opinion among baseball fans, but it may not happen. For every Major League Baseball (MLB) scandal that has occurred, not a single one has led to the team in the wrong forfeiting a game or championship, and Rob Manfred, MLB’s commissioner, doesn’t want the Astros to be the first to do so. The owner of the Astros, Jim Crane, has also made it clear that he wants the team to keep the title of 2017 World Series champions, but fans should be able to make the final decision. The Astros’ cheating and execution of the scheme shouldn’t make them eligible to retain their title, given the unfair advantage cheating gave them.

The especially disappointing thing is that the Astros could have actually had a chance against the Dodgers. They were never considered a good team before winning, but that gave them a chance to take advantage of the farming system, where teams that lose major games get to choose new and better players to fill their roster for the next season. To say they still would have beat the Dodgers had they not cheated is up for debate, but they had the opportunity to earn their title and threw it out the window. It’s unfortunate that most of the players on the team had no faith in their teammates whatsoever and lacked any sort of sportsmanship. 

This scandal has damaged the integrity that every sports game is supposed to come with. It was a big let down for Astros fans, who once had pride and hope for the team and now feel betrayed by them after thinking they had earned their victory. The same goes for fans of other teams, who are outraged that the Astros had been cheating their way through the series. With all that has happened, there’s no way the Astros will be taken seriously as a baseball team again until they resurface with a win they earned themselves.