Astros' Martin Maldonado used illegal bat in World Series vs. Phillies

Astros catcher accidentally (?) cheated in Game 1: report originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

So the Houston Astros might've been cheating in the World Series. Sound familiar?

Early in Saturday night's Game 2 of the World Series, FOX dropped a quick little 50-second segment on Martin Maldonado and his change in bats from Game 1 to Game 2.

The reason? He was informed by Major League Baseball that the bat he used in Game 1... was not a legal bat.

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Oh!

Here's the segment, and a transcription:

"Martin Maldonado is using a different bat today here in Game 2. He found out from MLB today that the bat he used last night was not a legal bat. It was a model he obtained from Albert Pujols, and he used it because he thought it was very similar in size and weight to his own model. The barrel, he said, was slightly bigger. He also thought it was a way to honor the baseball legend, of course retiring with the close of the season, but here's the catch to it, guys: in 2010, Major League Baseball changed the bat specifications and that bat that Pujols modeled was no longer, except if you were playing prior to 2010 it was grandfathered. So Albert Pujols could use that bat but Maldonado, who began his major league career in 2011, was not legally able to use that bat."

That... sounds like cheating? And while it's obviously not nearly as egregious as the Astros' coordinated cheating efforts that slapped a big asterisk on the team's 2017 World Series title, it's still a rough look for a franchise that seems frustrated to still be linked to cheating years later.

Guess what, fellas: if you keep getting caught breaking the rules, that reputation is going to be hard to shed.

Reporters were discussing the exchange of bats from Pujols to Maldonado ahead of Game 1, so it certainly wasn't some great behind-closed-doors conspiracy:

But still, shouldn't there be... some sort of repercussion for this? Can you imagine if we learned this after Maldonado drove in a game-winning run in Game 1? That would've been a huge disaster for Major League Baseball. Instead, the Phillies won Game 1 and all was for naught.

Get it together down there, Houston.