On November 12, 2019 The Athletic put out a article that made some big claims against the Houston Astros who had won the world series in 2017 and had made it to the ALDS in the previous season. In the article they stated, “that a player or personal would then bang on trash cans”.
People were asking the question of if this even helped the short answer is yes but how much did it help them. Well it helped so much that when Jose Altuve was at home witch was where they did this banging on trash cans Altuve hit 6 home runs and had 12 runs batted in just 18 games. compared to his numbers away in the same postseason where he did not have the trash cans he only had 1 home run and 2 runs batted in.
But this is where you could just say maybe he was better at home witch is fair but looking at all his stats from the postseason he clearly was better at home in every stat not just two different stats.
The next big piece of evidence The Athletic put in that article was that he had a buzzer on his chest that would tell him what pitch was coming. Aroldis Chapman who is one of the best reliver pitchers in the game put Altuve in 2 strikes and 1 ball count when he threw an 84 mile per hour slider up and away.
Now usually the batter has to guess what type of pitch and where but since Altuve had the buzzer he knew what pitch was coming and did what is called sitting on a pitch and hit a 2-run walk off to win the game.
As he rounded third and went to home, he told his teammates who where standing and celebrating at home to not take his jersey off as he knew it would expose the buzzer he had on his chest.
Almost immediately people on the internet started to look at this and wonder why he did it. Soon after people started to look back at there home games and if you listen to games you can hear what sounds like the banging of a trash can.
Soon the MLB started their own investigation in to the situation and on January 13th, 2020 the Astros where handed a punishment this punishment included a five million dollar fine and forfeiting their first and second round picks in the next two drafts.
One big question after the punishment where made public was how the player were going to respond. Mike Trout one of the biggest names in baseball said this when he was asked about the situation “It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys’ careers have been affected, a lot of people lost jobs. It was tough. Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming — it would be pretty fun up there.” .
He was not the only superstar in the sport to speak up as Aaron Judge, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Verlander did just to name a few. They all had the same kind of message and that was that they had lost respect for those guys, they had messed with guys careers, and that the player should face some punishment.
There has always been sign stealing in baseball, but you never fully know what a guy is going to throw as there are so many different combos. But when you know exactly what a guy is going to be throwing that is cheating.
If the player knew what they were doing then they should face some sort of punishment but to not punish them and let them walk free is not harsh enough.
The other problem with cheating in the future is that technology has become a big part of cheating and as technological advancements happen cheating will become easier for the teams and harder to catch teams doing it.
One of the reasons the Astros where caught was because of the suspicious on field activity witch people have video of and can go back and look at it as much as they want.
There is a point to be made that if the Astros were just a little more carful with what they did on the field they probably could have gotten away with it.
Now with there being no repercussions for the players one big questions was going to be are the players going to get thrown at in the upcoming season. There was the concern with how mad most of the players in the league where and when you have a 95-mph fastball going for your ribs it is not the best feeling when you get hit with that.