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Jomboy Updates on Astros Cheating Against Dodgers, MLB; Challenges Hinch & Buzzers



In a week overrun with trade rumors that have honestly gone quite sideways, the Astros scandal has taken something of a backseat. Still, fresh news surrounding the Astros tried to sneak by this week, much to the preference of Major League Baseball.

Now, internet personality Jomboy is back with an update that helps sort out everything that tried to hide here early in February. Keep in mind, some language used in this video is not safe for work.

Immediately Jomboy — also known as Jimmy O’Brien — calls out MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s report on the cheating investigation which conveniently singled out players and front office members no longer employed by Houston.

It’s fair to say that (outside of Texas) the general feeling from baseball fans is that the Astros and its active players got away with the scheme. Because they did. Key members of the club participated in and benefited from the illegal sign stealing, won a World Series in 2017 — and celebrated it — and didn’t even get a slap on the wrist for their transgressions

For the purpose of avoiding old scars, let’s move on from that can of worms.

On Friday, two new major moments in this scandal dropped. First, Wall Street Journal scribe Jared Diamond released a tell-all with added details omitted from the commissioner’s report. Next, former Astros manager AJ Hinch sat down for a one-on-one interview with MLB Network’s Tom Verducci to answer questions about the scandal.

The problem was that he mostly didn’t… but first, let’s break down the WSJ article.

Jared Diamond writes about the “dark arts” in Houston known as “Codebreaker.” Codebreaker was an “Excel-based application programmed with an algorithm that could decode the opposing catchers’ signs.” Now, until this WSJ article, the feeling MLB wanted you to have was that the Astros front office didn’t have full knowledge of the cheating going on in and around the dugout at Minute Maid Park.

However, Diamond refutes that heavily.

The existence of Codebreaker shows that it was the Astros front office that laid the groundwork for the team’s electronic sign-stealing schemes.

During MLB’s probe, [Houston GM Jeff] Luhnow maintained that he had no knowledge of any of the Astros’ misconduct. However, Manfred wrote in his letter that ‘there is more than sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that you knew — and overwhelming evidence that you should have known — that the Astros maintained a sign-stealing program that violated MLB’s rules.’

Around the 3:54 minute mark in Jomboy’s video, O’Brien digs in to questionable verbiage in the commissioner’s report that really helps back Diamond’s findings. It also begins to paint the picture of where manager AJ Hinch sat on all of this sign stealing, and importantly, how much he may have known.

In short, the Astros paid a lot of money to an “advance information” department to work on stealing signs in real-time, and people like Hinch and Luhnow at the very least knew about it.

Now onto AJ and the Buzzers.

While the system was easy enough to run at their home ballpark — see sign, bang can — the wonder remains how did they do this on the road? And by the way, evidence strongly suggests it was done on the road as well. 

The ‘banging scheme’ lasted through the 2017 World Series, which the Astros won over the Los Angeles Dodgers … But everything started with Codebreaker, and the use of it to steal signs continued into 2018 — not just at home, but also on the road.

Surely it’s easy enough to watch the catcher’s signs at any MLB stadium, but relaying the signs is the tough part.

Rumors of “hands up on the bullpen fence” having meaning to a batter have circulated. But so to has the rumor of electronic buzzers being in play.

Now, the commissioner’s office said the investigation found no evidence of buzzers being in play. But if we’re being truthful here, investigators never really wanted much to do with this scandal in the first place. MLB hoped it would all go away. Thankfully, we all have Jomboy who helped make it something they no longer could ignore.

But let’s play along here… if no buzzers, then why was Jose Altuve so adamant about his teammates not ripping off his jersey after hitting a walk-off home run that sent the club to its second World Series in three seasons? And why run off the field before changing into your ALCS champs shirt only to come right back on field for an interview?

Altuve the shy guy

Now where this gets fun (infuriating) again is when former Astros manager AJ Hinch completely avoided Tom Verducci’s questioning about the buzzers (15:14 mark in the Jomboy video above).

Hinch took the Alex Bregman route

We got investigated for three months and the commissioner’s office did as thorough an investigation as anyone could imagine was possible. I know he mentioned the e-mails and the texts and the messages… and I believe him.

That wasn’t the question, AJ. The question was “we’ve heard reports about the Astros players wearing buzzers … can you assure us there were no buzzers?” A pretty straight forward yes or no question.

All in all, there is a lot to unpack from all of this. It truly was a top to bottom effort that more people knew about than they all lead on. Of course, with the commissioner granting players immunity in exchange for their cooperation in the investigation, it unfortunately seems like while more information may continue to come out, the players involved will still get away scot-free. 

NEXT: An Emotional Rollercoaster Off-Season for Dodgers Fans

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. The real cover up is that no one wants to talk about how widespread cheating was. MLB wants to sweep Logan Morrison’s comments under the rug. If MLB investigated all the at least 11 teams thoroughly, baseball would look really bad. Much easier to put all the focus on a couple of teams that just happened to have won a WS.

    • You’re a nobody just stop already. Present something or be quiet once and for all you say the same thing everyday

  2. One thing that goes uncommented on a lot is how MLB Network has shilled for the Commissioner at every turn. The interview of Hinch was ok but he had a bizarre fixation on leadership which Verducci also pushed and focused on when commenting after the interview. Olney from ESPN on Twitter had to point out Hinch’s dodge on the buzzers. All the commenters had glowing reviews of Hinch. The WSJ article I think proves there was an attempt by MLB and Manfred to cover up the extent of the sign stealing and MLB Network seems to be a part of that cover up.

  3. MLB is attempting to cover up how invested the Astros and its players like Bergman Altuve etc were using the information in key spots with the game on the line. If you know a fastball or a change of pace is coming it makes it so much easier to hit. If you watch some of the clips that investigating people have put on the web you see the Astros were not lunging at pitches. The Astros were making solid contact when they should not have been.
    I do not believe that the MLB will ever admit to the buzzers but I believe it will eventually come out and they are foolish to think it won’t. One person can keep a secret but not an entire group of people.
    The players should like Altuve, Bergman, Reddick etc should be suspended at least and possibly banned once it is proven they did not tell the truth in the investigation. Hinch should be banned for life.

  4. I think the solution would be a “rotational” ban. All players on the Astros roster in 2017 be suspended. All in percentage of time on active roster. And banned from all promotional (outside advertising endeavors, etc.) activities for 2 years. All suspended time salary being placed on hold, possibly distributed to opponents in 2017. Also in percentage to games played against. And monies delegated for minor leagues in form of check sent to Class A or AA franchise. Check reported by franchise local news to assure compliance. And here is the suspension. 21 games for ALL players on active roster 140 + games. 18 games for 120-140. 14 games for 80-120. 10 for 1-79. Astros MUST have one player suspended until all are taken care of. Players now on other team same suspension. But at teams discretion as to timing. This would put teeth into punishment. And at the same time not destroy the franchise.

  5. First of all the fact that a team would collude to cheat is reprehensible, and let’s not avoid that term, because it was collusion. It shows a lack of character and a lack of respect for the game.

    The problem starts and finishes with the Commissioner of baseball. I have heard and read that teams (Yankees, Red Sox and White Sox) complained to MLB during the 2017 season about the cheating but were rebuffed. Shame on the MLB!

    For it to take a Whistleblower to come forward to force the Commissioner to perform a legitimate investigation is shameful. He should have initiated it after the first, but certainly after the third complaint.

    The Report concluded that the cheating scandal was player driven, and yet the players were not punished. The Commissioner’s concern about the Players Union fighting his penalties is ludicrous. First of all, if the Players Union is going to support a bunch of cheating players, they would lose all credibility. Second, so what if they challenged it. If there is evidence, and I have watched on You Tube video and audio evidence, then I would encourage the Players Union to challenge it so that it all comes out and is made public.

    But having apparently agreed ahead of time to grant the players immunity, they nonetheless could have been punished. I would have liked to see the following:

    1. World Series title forfeited. Rings returned and auctioned with money going to charities. Trophy returned. Record books state that Houston had its title forfeited for cheating. The NCAA threw the book at the University of Southern California with a two-year bowl ban, four years’ probation, loss of scholarships and forfeits of an entire year’s games for a much lesser crime, i.e., improper benefits to Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush dating to the Trojans’ 2004 national championship. Finally, the football team was forced to vacate the final two wins of its 2004 national championship season, as well as all of its wins in 2005. The Tour De France has stripped titles as well. If this had been the only penalty, it would have been adequate. The failure to invoke this penalty creates a presumption that the Commissioner is somehow complicit in this scandal.

    2. Loss of Draft Picks. While two-years loss of first and second round draft picks is a good start, it did not go far enough. I’m not baseball smart enough to know what the long-term effect of this penalty will be, but I would have tacked on a third year and included more than two rounds of the draft. I would also have included a ban from the international draft.

    3. Suspensions: I have no problem with suspending the GM and Manager. They knew about it and failed to stop it and/or report it. I would have suspended them for more than one year.

    4. Ban from Post Season Play: I would have banned Houston for two to three years of post season play. Again, I refence what the NCAA did to USC for a much lesser infraction.

    5. Character Training: Inasmuch as the Houston players and organization lacked the character to engage in cheating, they need to undergo a significant and deep period of atonement. They need to be forced to have group and individual counseling to help them learn the significance of what they did, how it hurt not just the “game”, but how it affected fans and players. I would recommend that they also be required to meet individually (not as a team or a bunch of players together) with youth baseball organizations (Little Leagues, High School and College Baseball teams) in every city that they play in to discuss what they did and to teach against unethical gamesmanship.

    6. The Commissioner Needs to Resign: An investigation needs to be performed to ascertain if teams complained to the MLB in 2017 about Houston, and what the response was. If it is determined that the Commissioner was aware of alleged cheating and failed to take the same steps that was taken after the Whistleblower came forward, then he needs to be replaced. A new Commissioner has to have authority to make decisions that are best for the game, not for the owners’ pocketbooks. A more independent Commissioner would not have flinched at instituting the above penalties.

    At the young age of 61 and a lifelong Los Angeleno, I have always been a Dodgers fan. Yes, we have been spoiled by a storied franchise that have had some of the greatest players in baseball history, won numerous World Series titles, and had the greatest teacher and storyteller of them all in Vin Scully. I got over 1966 as a young child. 1974 was disappointing, but I was able to accept that the A’s were the better team, and I was elated that the Dodgers made it to the World Series. 1978 and 1979 were frustrating losses worsened because I had friends from New York that were Yankees fans. I accepted the loss in 2018, because again, I felt that the Red Sox were superior. Yes, I am still doing a slow burn over this past season’s early exit due to our manager snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. But the most difficult loss is 2017. To hear players say that they felt that Houston was a step ahead of them now makes sense; they were a step ahead. They were cheating.

  6. As a huge lifelong Dodgers fan I have said the past 2 years that Houston was better than LA in that World Series and as heartbreaking of a loss as it was this cheating scandal makes it that much more painful…the Dodgers should would have won that series had it been played legitimate. These Astros players commenting to the media how sorry they are and how they should have handled it better… BS!! they are only sorry now because they were caught….they should drop sanctions on them like a college program caught cheating…. no post season play for 5 years, no first round draft picks for 5 years…and they should be stripped of that championship in 2017

  7. As a lifelong Dodger fan age 84 living then in the NYC suburbs, no other baseball franchise had such storied history raising the game to our countries national level. We honor Branch Rickey.

    Riding the ladder of time, baseball now competes with the NFL,soccer, and others in the lime light in addition to the wireless. Now Houston’s 2017 episode threatens baseball’s integrity unless the Commissioner reverses his kid gloves stance.

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