During a week when the sport should have been to celebrate its stars, Major League Baseball once again finds itself with an ethical issue front and center: accusations of sign stealing/cheating in a sport that still isn’t cleaning itself up properly from PED use.
The Houston Astros, who have had interesting success with their pitchers in the last few seasons, have been exposed for using technology to steal signs during games. While sign stealing itself is an age-old practice, it’s usually done on the field by the players themselves during the game.
Using a camera in center field and designing a system of communication to relay information to the dugout is not within the rule, either written or unwritten. This is similar to what the Boston Red Sox were caught doing a few years ago with an Apple watch.
It is sad to observe that the Astros won the World Series in 2017 and the Red Sox won it in 2018—both over the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is not a stretch to assume that once a team cheats and experiences success doing it that the team will stop doing it, even if caught. Like all thieves, an organization just finds new ways to get “an edge”—the less-heavy terminology used for cheating by those who defend the practice.
MLB already has an issue with a lack of equity in payroll: Only the rich teams have a legitimate shot at winning the championship. Now it seems some of those rich teams, past and present, like to cheat, too.
Two interesting notes here: Alex Cora was with the 2017 Astros as bench coach when they won the World Series and now apparently cheated to do so. He then took the manager position in Boston the next season and won the World Series. Are we really going to assume that Cora didn’t bring along the cheating techniques with him?
Yes, this is going to be quite messy. It’s a sad world when honesty and integrity get sacrificed at the altar of greed and profit in America, but sports—as an emblem of Western cultural disintegration—are not immune to what plagues the United States of America in the twenty-first century.