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Major League Baseball is currently investigating the Houston Astros over 2017 cheating allegations, but it still has a long way to go.
According to The Athletic, MLB likely won’t finish its investigation into the Astros until the new year. That’s a pretty wide span of time — it could mean January 2020, it could mean April 2020, it could mean November 2020 — but it’s hard to imagine MLB starting the new season with this hanging over their head.
As for what’s taking them so long, commissioner Rob Manfred told the media on Wednesday that it’s the “most thorough investigation” the commissioner’s office has ever done, with 60 interviews already conducted and more to come. In addition to that, Manfred also said that they are looking through over 76,000 emails and instant messages related to the case.
The Athletic reported that MLB is looking into whether the Astros communicated signs in 2018 and 2019 in addition to 2017, but there are apparently fewer “leads” about cheating beyond 2017, the year the Astros won the World Series.
The investigation began in mid-November, when pitcher Mike Fiers told The Athletic that in 2017, the Astros used technology to steal signs from other teams, and had used various methods to communicate those signs to whichever player was currently batting. There has been speculation that the Astros used whistles, the smash of a trash can lid, and even buzzing bandages to communicate signs about certain pitches. ESPN also obtained an email allegedly sent by Astros executive Kevin Goldstein to a scout, asking for help capturing other teams’ signs.
This investigation was combined with a different Astros investigation which started in late October, when a now-former Astros employee verbally harassed a female reporter who had been critical of the organization signing Roberto Osuna. Osuna has been punished under MLB’s domestic violence policy.
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