The Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal wasn’t revealed to the baseball-loving public until this offseason, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. A number of teams suspected Houston was engaging in questionable tactics and let the league know about those suspicions, according to The Washington Post.
That report — from Barry Svrluga and Dave Sheinin — contains quotes from a number of opposing team executives and scouts who knew the Astros were up to something. One executive went so far as to say “everybody knew” about the Astros’ cheating.
“The whole industry knows they’ve been cheating their a---- off for three or four years,” said an executive from a team that faced the Astros in the playoffs during that span. “Everybody knew it.”
So, why didn’t those teams report the Astros to MLB? Actually, they did. Two MLB executives believed roughly “10 to 12” teams complained to MLB about the Astros.
Like most of the people interviewed for this story, the executive spoke on condition of anonymity to defy an MLB request that personnel from other teams refrain from speaking freely about the Astros. He estimated “10 to 12” teams had complained to MLB about the Astros over the years. An executive from another team agreed with that number.
The team’s cheating became so well known that advanced scouts would make notes in their reports about the Astros stealing signs. Opposing teams and players became so frustrated with the situation that they tipped off the Nationals before the 2019 World Series. The Nationals defeated the Astros in seven games.
That’s a troubling notion, especially considering rumors that other teams have engaged in similar schemes. In every story detailing the Astros’ cheating, there’s always a suggestion that the Astros weren’t alone.
Joe Musgrove with an interesting quote on the Astros' sign-stealing mess: "If MLB did an investigation as thorough as they did on the Astros with every team in baseball, they’re going to find a lot more than they want to find."
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) February 11, 2020
That could be Musgrove’s attempt at lessening his former team’s actions. Or it could be an explosive revelation aimed at exposing multiple teams.
If it is the latter, fans shouldn’t expect to hear much more about it from the league. If MLB didn’t take action after a third of the league complained about the Astros, it’s not going to respond to one player throwing around accusations.
The only way to expose more teams involves another whistleblower. Otherwise, MLB seems content to ignore any controversy that threatens the credibility of the league.
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