Astros caught sign-stealing, fire GM and manager

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Following an investigation, Major League Baseball on Monday concluded that the Houston Astros stole signs during their World Series-winning 2017 season.

The MLB promptly suspended both the team manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for a year, before the Astros stepped in and fired both men after learning of the news.

Team owner Jim Crane:

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(SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) HOUSTON ASTROS OWNER, JIM CRANE, SAYING:

"I have higher standards for the city and the franchise and I'm going above and beyond MLB's penalty. Today, I have made the decision to dismiss A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow. Neither one of them started this but neither one of them did anything about it. And that's how we came to the conclusion."

Crane himself was not aware of the sign-stealing, according to commissioner Rob Manfred's report.

Manfred has fined the team the maximum allowable amount of $5 million and took away the Astros' first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.

Manfred also expressed his concern about the integrity of the game following MLB’s findings, saying: "The conduct described herein has caused fans, players, executives at other MLB clubs, and members of the media to raise questions about the integrity of games in which the Astros participated. And while it is impossible to determine whether the conduct actually impacted the results on the field, the perception of some that it did causes significant harm to the game."

In November, reports first surfaced that the Astros had stolen signs using a center-field camera during the 2017 regular season.

Former bench coach Alex Cora was identified as the mastermind of the scheme.

Cora, now the manager of the Boston Red Sox, was not disciplined, but the report indicates he could still face penalties when MLB concludes its investigation into allegations of sign stealing by the Red Sox in 2018.

As for the Astros, their one World Series win is now forever marred by the scandal.

(SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) HOUSTON ASTROS OWNER, JIM CRANE, SAYING:

"(Is this your toughest day ever?) This is a tough day. I've had a lot of tough days over the year. But yea, this is a tough one."

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