The Houston Astros have been implicated in one of the biggest scandals in baseball history. MLB caught the Astros stealing pitching signs and employing strategies to help batters recognize which pitch was coming during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Houston had a live video feed into the dugout tunnel from a camera set up behind center field, watching the catcher the entire game. Players in the dugout would then bang on a trash can to alert the batter of the next pitch. MLB launched an investigation to determine the extent of the cheating, and after it was concluded both manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended by MLB and subsequently fired by the Astros organization. Owner Jim Crane maintained he had no knowledge of the cheating, and according to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s report, that fact was confirmed to be true. The report also discovered the scandal to be player-driven, even though Hinch has since come out to claim responsibility. Beyond suspending Hinch and Luhnow, former assistant general manager Brandon Taubman was suspended, the Astros lost their first and second-round picks for the next two drafts and the franchise was fined $5 million. No players were suspended or fined.
In the flurry of activity surrounding the scandal and how it extends to other teams in the league, one man has taken this opportunity to plead his case for the millionth time: Pete Rose. Rose is the all-time leader in hits, with over 4,000 in his 23-year career as a player that spanned time with three different teams. Rose also managed the Cincinnati Reds before being investigated for betting on Reds games. He claimed innocence but was found guilty and banned from baseball for life. Because of this ban, Rose can no longer hold any position in baseball or be elected to the Hall of Fame.
Are we really to accept the lack of any discipline for the players who orchestrated one of the largest cheating schemes in sports history — while also watching as the man with the most hits ever grows closer to death without receiving the honor his incredible career so clearly deserves? MLB cannot be allowed to have its cake and eat it, too. The players who created this scheme and acted against the admonishment of their coach are going to take the field again when spring training starts for the 2020 season, with no fear of punishment. The Astros won the World Series in 2017, right in the midst of the scheme’s execution. It is appalling that nothing has been done to those who organized the entire plan, while Rose is still forced to bear his shortcomings from 1989. Truly, the year should not hold any weight, as betting on one’s own team — to win, no less — should absolutely pale in comparison to cheating in order to gain an advantage over one’s opponent. Pete Rose didn’t need any help from cameras or trash cans to set the hits record. He shouldn’t need to watch the sport he had such an incredible impact on from afar.