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Houston Astros Punished for Cheating vs. Dodgers in World Series and More

The day of reckoning has come for the Astros organization.

Breaking news: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has tweeted out the punishment handed down by MLB to the Astros organization.

Astros manager AJ Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow will be suspended for a year.

Additionally, the organization will lose first and second round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021 and will be fined $5M.

No players were punished however, but the Alex Cora part is damning. ESPN’s Jeff Passan expands.

Alex Cora Played A Monstrous Part

This means that Alex Cora, the manager of the 2018 world series who also beat the Dodgers, was not only complicit in this scandal — he was one of the ones who orchestrated it. His punishment will be handed down later in the day.

What Happened Again?

For those who may have been living in a cave and missed this scandal, here is the plain-spoken summary of the Astros cheating scandal. The investigation proved in 2017 that the Astros were illegally stealing pitching signs from the opposing team using prohibited means, including a camera system and a sign-relaying system to the Astros hitters in the box. Banging on trash cans or specific whistles were the preferred ways of relaying the pitching signs.

Related: 2017 World Series Impacted by Astros Sign Stealing

There’s no subtlety here — this was a massive conspiracy and these punishments are final proof that MLB and the investigators found them guilty as charged.

Astros Organization Trying To Save Whatever Face Is Left

An hour or so after the punishments were handed out, the Astros decided to do their best to purge the past and move on, by firing Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch.

The Absolute Proof, and The Absolute Worst Part

This part personally hit me in the soul.

They used this system in the postseason. The Astros used this system to rob the Dodgers of a world series title. Everyone watched game 5–a series of miraculous comebacks by the Astros. It smelled fishy on that October night, and it turns out it was. 

No Changes To The 2017 World Series

Dodger fans feel cheated, and for good reason. The 7 game series could have come down to a few stolen signs. Without this system, it is easy to reason that the Dodgers could have swept or won this series in 5 or 6 games.

The 2017 World Series title will still say the Houston Astros won the world series, but the tainted title will always hold an asterisk or worse in the hearts of Dodger fans.

NEXT: Cody Bellinger Speaks on Astros and Red Sox Cheating Allegations

Written by AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers fan who grew up in California. His whole family are also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, beagle, and strat.

49 Comments

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  1. Better than what the NFL would’ve done but it’s not enough. There needed to be banishments for Owner and manager and Cora needs to be banned. A heftier financial punishment as well. As far as the titles go I don’t want titles that we didn’t get to experience

  2. They’ll be back in one year to pick up where they left off. 5 million and some draft picks won’t do much damage to them. If I was an Astros fan I’d say this was worth it for a World Series title based on the so so punishment handed out. I’m very curious to see what happens with Cora I think it’ll be much for serious

  3. Hey, Dave Roberts! Is Cora still your best friend after screwing you out of two World Series titles?!!!

    • Or Hinch who didn’t like it but let it happen anyway. If I was Roberts I’d never speak to them again. I liked Cora as a Dodger too it hurts that he’d do this to us twice and it hurts that I won’t be able to look back on his time with the Dodgers fondly anymore

  4. Every team they beat ” Astros ” in 17 playoffs should receive their draft picks. Dodgers should get their #1. All taking their draft picks does is strengthen the draft by 2 players. Since the Dodgers were second, they should receive the pick!

    • Kirk, as I just said that punishment was weak IMHO. Astros are very lucky I am not the Commissioner. because not only would I have vacated their WS title but I would suspend any players involved besides the manager and GM, and I would have taken away ALL draft picks this year including the compensation pick for losing Cole to FA. Also all picks in June’s draft and also I would have taken away all the r international slot money for 2 years!

    • Kirk, I agree. The Astros draft picks shouldn’t be sent to the twilight zone, they should be transferred to the teams hurt most by their cheating. And the Dodgers are at the front of that line. It’s a case of simple compensation, that is part of any civil system of justice. The Dodgers probably lost a world series because of this. Nothing can really compensate for that. But at least they could get some justice. I would have made it a draft pick transfer scenario, and extended to a three year time frame, all number one picks.

  5. while I am glad to just read that both Hinch and GM Luhnow have been fired, i would have vacated the Astro’s WS title and made 2017 null and void of any winner. To me the punishment was not steep enough.

    • I concur. The Commissioner did not go far enough with penalties. However, it was appropriate, at the very least, for the owner of the Astros to fire Hinch and Luhnow. (I don’t care that it was likely for “show” or to try and “save face.”) Regardless, the Astros reputation is shot for now as it should be. But as appropriate, the Astros, as a team, should be completely stripped of its 2017 World Series Championship. As a Dodgers fan, I find this completely substantiated ” revelation” unsurprising but infuriatingly disgusting, nevertheless. The Astros obviously perpetrated a complete fraud and stole a World Championship.

  6. I knew they probably weren’t going to vacate the series titles, but AT THE VERY LEAST there should be an asterisk in every record book. Why not?

    • Just like the Patriots first 5 Super Bowls; spygate and deflategate cost many teams not only championships, but resulted in coaches losing their jobs, players getting less in free agency, etc., etc.

      Until the commissioners of the pro sports leagues start vacating championships, this will continue…

  7. All players involved should be slapped with suspensions. The players are the ones who instigated this and implemented it. However, they walk away free like they did nothing. I don’t hear anyone talking about the players, they know the written and unwritten rules of baseball. And it they don’t, they don’t belong in the major leagues.

  8. I agree the punishment is not good enough they should be stripe of the title all players involved should be suspended without pay for one year and they should be banned from post season play for at least 2 years. Also a life time ban for the manager and general manager just like Pete Rose for gsmbling. What they did was just as bad make the punishment for the crime.

  9. Very surprising! Not that the Astros cheated, but that MLB launched a real investigation with real penalties. The loss of draft choices was a good move, and could have gone even deeper. The one year suspensions of Luhnow and Hinch were pretty serious too, and got alot more serious when the Astros owner fired them both outright. Neither will ever return to the Astros. It’s so rare to see justice prevail over sweeping things under the rug. I congratulate MLB and encourage them to go alot further with Cora. Perhaps a lifetime ban. His cheating covered consecutive world series championships. He seems seems to be the unrepentant orchestrator of the whole thing. I believe a lifetime ban is in order. This would send more than a mere message to other teams considering orchestrated use of technology to steal signs and games. The message would be similar to the one in the Pete Rose case…baseball will not allow any activities that undermine the integrity of the game, nor any of the individuals consistently involved in those activities from ever being involved in the game.

    • Cora is going to get hammered and likely fired by the Red Sox. The one whose hand is heavily in it and is going to walk because he was a player is Beltran. He should be suspended and fired as well.

  10. Dodgers should be declared WS Champ and receive all of Houston and Red Sox draft picks. Guilty parties should be permanently banned from baseball. How is that not worse or equal than Pete Rose betting on baseball?

  11. I think the Astros should be stripped of the title “all of them” all guilty knowing it was all wrong. 2017 Champions are the Los Angeles Dodgers!!

  12. I do have a outlook also that no one has really thought about. If it worked in 2017 against the Dodgers, don’t you think they did it against the Nat’s? Does anyone remember when the Nat’s pitching coach said stras was tipping his pitches last year? Then they corrected it.? Its either the Nat’s were just better at disguising their signs, or the Nat’s just had that much better starting pitching than the Dodgers. Probably a little of both. Just curious why not last year if it had been working.

    • My guess is the Nationals pitching overwhelmed the Astros with or without sign stealing. Sometimes knowing that a pitch will be a fastball or a breaking ball isn’t enough. You still have to hit it. Sherzer and Strasburg were really tough to hit.

    • Investigation was underway in November, which means they probably already knew they were being scrutinized at the point, and thus were on best behavior. Both Rays and Yankees were on watch and vocal about it directly beforehand, which I guess means there was probably some movement in the organization to address it, since it was too blatant to ignore at that point. I agree title should be null and players suspended, to truly address the season of theft that affected Dodgers, Yankees, and MLB credibility. A scandal is actually worth more marketing wise at this point, and fair dealing is what will be remembered in the long term. Weak repercussions weaken the game IMO.

  13. I think most of us are in agreement that, although seemingly stern punishments were handed down today to the Astros by MLB (who, yes I am SO amazed actually launched a *real* investigation!) …those punishments were, IMHO, NOT strong enough. I would have vacated their WS titles immediately and also suspended anyone and *everyone* who had any knowledge of their shenanigans! My one hope is that Alex Cora will be completely drummed out of the game as he has had much more involvement (and on multiple years) than the Astros. A lifetime ban for him sounds good to me. MLB letting the players off the hook is, I think, truly unfortunate, to put it mildly. The $$$ that players make should *ensure* that ALL of them (on any Club) stand up tall for the Rules of The Game. These guys are making Pete Rose look good!

  14. That’s it? Heck, I’d pay that price for a title. Seeing as teams spend over $100 million to win a title, what’s $5 million and draft picks? Let’s talk about Manfred and his corruption.

    • I feel like a lot of teams think that it would still worth it and depending on how long it would take to get caught they could win multiple times before having to pay for it, yeah they’d lose their manager and whoever else but they still would have the experience of winning it all, the titles for the franchise and the fans would have the experience for life

  15. There was a lot of nattering on MLB Network about how you can’t retroactively change the results on the field. Seems like the NCAA does that all the time. I don’t feel like the Dodgers should be awarded the titles, but the Astros and Red Sox titles should be vacated. Just like the strike year, there should be no champions for 2017 and 2018. And yes, Cora should be on the “ineligible list” along with Rose.

  16. Players involved should have been suspended forever or at least 10 years.and taken away awards won.

  17. Rob Manfred has to be the worst MLB commissioner in history. How can he just slapped the wrist of the Houston organization who was found guilty of the most scandal of cheating in MLB history!
    The 2017 World Series should have been stripped and vacant period and GM Jeff Luhnow and Manager A.J. Hinch should have been permanently banned from MLB and the players that played the 2017 season should have been suspended for one year and will not be in title to the HOF instead to the “Hall of Shame”
    Kudos to Jim Crane the owner he did the right thing by firing GM Jeff Luhnow and Manager A.J. Hinch he did what Rob Manfred commissioner should have done.

    • Way too excessive.

      A. Can’t prove the players benefitted.

      B. Science and probability still affects the system. You can’t guarantee they would hit regardless.

      C. Like it or not, you cannot price 100 percent they figured out the tipping by the video alone.

      D. You strip the Astros if their title, you’d have to strip EVERY team with a known steroid user, abuser or ANY form of cheating in the year of their title.

      E. The MLB found ZERO evidence the players were part of the system. Let’s be REAL here: they get told to watch for a certain tip. The trash can banging is edited sound effects by Jomboy. That is clearly a muffled Muzak base edited in (been to enough games to know it).

      F. The players do NOT deserve to be stripped of HOF chances. Do that, you remove every doper that is in the HOF, and there are plenty before folks got high and mighty on it.

      G. They’re fined with the 2017 punishments. Keep whining about that, but honestly? – you punish with present laws, then again all titles won with a known doper even before it was banned get stripped.

      In short, you all have been livid with this since Yuli Gurriel wasn’t banned from the Series after the Yu Darvish incident. Yuli’s BASE RUNNING won the crucial game five and helped with seven.

      Wins happen because of base scoring more than hitting.

      Has the wins been nothing by HRs? You’d have a point on the stripping.

      But this WS you didn’t.

      And I think no one appreciates the irony that the NEXT year the Astros got screwed over by the BoSox in the ALCS.

  18. A slap in the face for baseball, both teams Astros and Red Sox should be stripped of their title for cheating, this just goes to show how much integrity MLB has really lost if Pete Rose got band for betting how is this not worst to literally have to cheat to WIN and not just a game but WIN it all the world series, WOW what are we really teaching our younger generations!!!!

    • Intel like that doesn’t guarantee a win. Scoring does:

      You all were mad when Gurriel was still getting to play in the WS instead of being banned, and he was key in games 5 & 7.

      That would’ve been EXCESSIVE punishment, which I’m sure you wanted anyway.

      And FYI the Astros have been screwed over multiple times by the MLB too. They were forced to keep their roof open in 2005 so the White Sox could have the advantage to win the series.

      The MLB and New York rigged the 2018 ALCS for the Red Sox by blatantly using a video that kept Altuve’s HR in question.

      So yeah… the Astros were punished with the 2017 rules. You may be angry with that but you may want to wait…

      I’m suspecting the Yankees may be caught in this investigation now (it’s just quiet) so the lighter punishment is to help the Yankees when it’s their time…

      • What information do you have to suspect the Yankees? Someone is trying to deflect. Houston should be stripped of title. Either way, there will always be a huge asterisk. The Astros and Black Sox are now deservedly belonging to a short list of teams who have brought infamy to the game.

  19. I’m sorry but the MLB couldn’t prove they cheated in the World Series. That headline is misleading.

    Plus the MLB monitors all venues in the World Series.

    And they won in your home.

    The punishment is fair but reality is you really lost because your FIELDING stink.

    And enough with vacating titles.

    With teams in yesteryear knowing their own players doped, But did nothing:

    You’d have to strip EVERY title by every team for that cheating.

  20. Don’t forget the Yankees were up in their series with Astros before going back to Houston. The Dodgers are not default champions if Houston were stripped of title.

  21. ?Take time to analyze the WS games… https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_Houston_Astros_season

    Dodgers WON 2 @ home & 1 away; Astro’s WON 2 @home & 2 AWAY
    Winning had A LOT to do with PITCHING, FIELDING, & ERRORS…

    The Astros did NOT WIN the title at Minute Maid!!!!

    The Astros won at Minute Maid just as much as they won at away stadiums during the regular season: 54/53
    It’s hard to claim that the “cheating” “allowed” the Astros to win when they won at other home stadiums!
    The Astros had amazing pitchers, which means the opponents couldn’t score off of the Astros; the Astros has some amazing fielding as well! Are theAstros NEVER allowed to get hit or HRs? The law of averages suggests al, MLB players will get HR and hits off of any pitcher….
    If you really think about the whole process of the “trash can banging” in the world of technology, do you think it was really beneficial!?!?! I think it would be a STUPID way of cheating!!!! I mean seriously think about it!!!

    A.J. Hunch got a raw deal!!!! He became the scapegoat!!!! Suspended for a year & then fired!!! Who is going to hire him now with all the controversy?????? Think about the children of the players!!!! I think it is horrible what they have done to the Astros ….the ones you see actually playing the game!!!

    What is the owner REALLY suffering!!! I think a lot of back-room, closed-door talks went on between the owner & theMLB commissioners!!! And what happens to the 5M$?….. When that question was put to the MLB, they would NOT respond! In the past, fines have gone to the “General Fund”????????????????????

    G1: A [R-1, H-3, E-0] AT DODGERS D** [R-3, H-6, E-0]?
    ?G2: A** [R-7, H-14, E-1] AT DODGERS D [R-6, H-5, E-0]?
    ?G3: D [R-3, H-12,E-2] AT ASTROS A** [R-5, H-12, E-0]?
    ?G4: D**[R-6, H-7, E-0] AT ASTROS A [R-2, H-2, E-0]?
    ?G5: D [R-12, H-14, E-1] AT ASTROS A** [R-13, H-14, E-1]?
    ?G6: A [R-1, H 6, E-0] AT DODGERS D** [R-3, H-5, E-0]?
    ?G7: A**[R-5, H-5, E-0] AT DODGERS D [R-1, H-6, E-1]?

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