The Houston Astros, 2017 World Series Champions, Accused of Cheating

Calvin Schapira

In 2017, the Houston Astros won the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a thrilling 7-game series. The Astros are known as one of the more innovative and analytically advanced teams in professional baseball. The issue is that they may have used technology to give them an unfair advantage to win the World Series. While analytics and technological advances have been a key to success of their organization, it now may bring them down. The Astros are being investigated for using technology to steal the opposing teams’ signs, to help their hitters know what pitches are coming, specifically during the 2017 World Series winning season.

According to ESPN, Mike Fires told The Athletic that in 2017 while he was with the Astros, they used a camera in center field to look at the signs that were being displayed and relay them to the hitter to give them an advantage for getting a hit. Fires was quoted about the topic saying, “That’s not playing the game the right way. They were … willing to go above and beyond to win.”

While there is no proof, and there has been no disciplinary action from the MLB on the Astros yet, the story is making its way around the league and the country.  Astros fans, and baseball fans in general, are upset that the team may have cheated to bring the Astros their only World Series title, which may be stripped away if they are found guilty.

This is also not the first time a team has been accused of using technology to their advantage. In 2017, Sports Illustrated reported that the Boston Red Sox had used an Apple Watch to steal signs from the opposing catcher to give their hitters an advantage. The Red Sox did admit to this, and they were fined for the use of tech, but the practice of stealing signs does not directly violate any Major League baseball rules.

This verdict against the Red Sox may have a bearing on the punishment that could be set against the Astros; the only difference may be that the Astros did this to win the World Series.

While the situation needs to be investigated further to determine if the Astros are in fact guilty, this could damage the Astros’ reputation as an elite team.

The advances in technology and teams’ willingness to do whatever it takes to win may create problems for the whole league.  This investigation could be vital to the fairness of the 2017 World Series and set the precedent for how the league would handle such situations in the coming years.