Houston Trashtros and Houston Asterisks are two of the names many baseball fans call the Houston Astros since their infamous cheating scandal transpired in 2017 that helped them win their first ever World Series. For those who aren't familiar with this scandal, suspicions about the Astros cheating have been spreading for years. It wasn't until 2019 that the Los Angeles Dodgers organization started to blow the whistle on a claim that the Astros were stealing signs during the World Series two years earlier. Other teams claimed that they used other cheating tactics, such as whistling to relay signs to batters. In January 2020, Commissioner Rob Manfred released the results of an investigation conducted by Major League Baseball and they concluded that the Astros illegally used a video camera system to steal signs during their World Series run three years prior. As a result to the other aforementioned schemes, the Houston Astros were fined $5 million, gave up two draft picks (first and second round), and suspended both Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and field manager A.J. Hinch for the entire 2020 season. They were later both relieved of their duties. Basically, all of this was a slap on the wrist for the players and for the owner to save his own behind.
Before I share what I think about the Astros doing something so despicable, I want to remind everyone of a scandal that occurred well over a century ago involving the 1919 Chicago White Sox. This was known as the Black Sox Scandal. Eight players were accused of fixing the World Series that year in exchange for money. These individuals (seen above), though cleared of any wrongdoing in a public trial in 1921, they were still banned from baseball for life and barred from being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In the case of the Astros, what is my response upon learning about what they did? I know I'm late to the party, but I had no knowledge of this aspersion until last year. I wanted to speak on this issue for a while, but wanted to read more about it before writing this story. As a Rangers fan, I'm mortified, disgusted, and most importantly, pissed off of what the Astros did. Over 15 years ago, I used to enjoy watching both the Rangers and Astros on TV anytime they play each other. Now that all of the alarming details have since come to light, I can no longer see the Houston Astros the same way again. Rob Manfred, who in my opinion, is weak, should step down for giving the Astros organization such a light punishment, including giving those players immunity. I believe that their 2017 World Series title should be stripped away, because they didn't rightfully earn it. Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers would've had two World Series wins right now. Until the Astros are forced to forfeit the Commissioner's trophy and rings, I don't want to hear anything about fairness from the Commissioner, because he doesn't practice what he preaches. He's refusing to do that and he's more concerned about his reputation and saving face than doing the noble thing, which is awarding the Dodgers the the World Series trophy, World Series MVP, and rings by default.
MLB players such as Cody Bellinger, Nick Markakis, and Bryce Harper weighed in on the Astros cheating scandal. Their responses were honest and they didn't hold back. On the other hand while I was doing research for this story, I watched a video of the owner of the Astros, Jim Crane, alongside Alex Bregman and José Altuve attempting to "apologize" for stealing signs. I thought their apologies were tone deaf and phony. I called those fake mea culpas "half-assed", because they're only apologized because they got caught. Not one time during that press conference they apologized to Astros fans or the residents of Houston. Bregman stated that he hoped to regain the trust of fans. To me, it's a little too late for that. In a later video, Bregman was asked if he had any regrets of stealing signs and his response was that MLB did their report and didn't want to discuss the matter any further. It's another way of saying, "We won the World Series and everyone needs to get over it." The baseball community will never get over this and won't be in a forgiving mood anytime soon, since they refuse to take any personal responsibility for their wrongdoings.
One person I need to mention is a player that I once had the utmost respect for, but no longer do. That player is none other than Justin Verlander. He was asked about the scandal and what I got from him was nothing but a bunch of deflections and excuses. Verlander is a walking hypocrite. He's the same person who's so vocal about putting teams on blast for potentially stealing signs and also chastising players who might have used PEDs (performance enhancing drugs), yet when evidence of sign stealing occurred from the same organization he's part of, now all of a sudden he wants everyone to move on. In other words, he wants everyone to forget that it never took place. While I believe that Verlander is a great pitcher and a potential Hall of Famer, I've lost all respect for him. I expected him to do better than this. To me, he has no room to talk.
Honestly, if I were in charge of Major League Baseball, I would make the Astros return their World Series title from 2017, their rings, World Series MVP trophy, AL Pennant trophy, AL MVP trophy, vacate their wins, and ban them for life. That means everyone from that team should be banned from consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Pete Rose got banned from baseball for life and will never be considered for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. If a team, whether it's middle school, high school, or college, cheated to win a championship or any accolade, their victories would be forfeited and championships confiscated. When an Olympic athlete is caught using PEDs, their medals are stripped away from them and/or records erased. So it should be any different for the Astros or any major professional team. Finally, I would force the owner of the Astros to sell the team to someone else and to resign. That would send a huge message to the Astros and the other 29 teams. It would also send a message to baseball fans that players and teams need to be held accountable for their actions, because actions have consequences. None of these players are innocent and this scandal will follow them forever.
In the comments section of multiple videos discussing this topic, many Astros fans were outraged and couldn't believe that their own team would cheat to win a World Series. I don't blame them reacting this way, because they were duped and deceived under false pretenses. To me, cheating is not a mistake. It's deceitful, unforgiveable, and an act of betrayal to the fans who have supported you. I have no respect for cheaters in general. I refuse to praise cheaters. I'll never acknowledge the Houston Astros as two-time World Series Champions and that's not me being petty. They'll always be known as cheaters for the rest of their lives, especially when they go against any team. No matter how many championships, awards, or pennants they win, they'll always have that label attached to them indefinitely. They'll always have an asterisk next to their name, because they didn't deserve to be called World Series Champs in 2017. Not then and definitely not now. The Houston Astros were constantly playing the victim card and believed that they didn't do anything wrong. They think that they're being unfairly punished and persecuted, when in reality, the evidence didn't lie. They deserve all the scrutiny and backlash, because since they have no shame or lack any remorse, the public will always see them as cheaters. This scandal will never be forgotten, nor it'll go away anytime soon.
Astros fans, I want to hear from you. What are your thoughts about this? Are you sticking by this team or did you decide not to support them anymore?
About the Creator
Award-winning cosplayer, cosplay model, influencer, retro gaming fanatic, die-hard Texas Rangers fan, and nostalgic freak. Need I say more?