Astros Players Don't Deserve Benefit of Doubt

They earned this level of skepticism

Brandon Scott
January 16, 2020 - 6:04 pm

Even if the Astros didn’t wear buzzers to help steal signs, the players have not exactly earned the benefit of the doubt. 

Major League Baseball released a statement Thursday saying its investigation found no evidence of wearable devices being used in the scheme. 

This happened after a Twitter account representing itself to be that of disgraced former Astro Carlos Beltran claimed to have evidence Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman wore devices that buzzed on their inside right shoulder from the hallway video person. 

Fans on social media ran with it. And they’re not about to let the MLB’s clarification stop them from getting off these jokes. 

Nothing in their nine-page investigative report pointed to Astros players using buzzers, but the highlight of it was how the scheme was player-driven. 

Despite this, managers and a general manager have taken the fall.

Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch were promptly fired after their year-long suspensions were announced Monday.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was the Astros bench coach in 2017 and a key figure in the sign-stealing, was let go Tuesday night.

Recently hired Mets manager Carlos Beltran, a player for the ‘stros in 2017 and another central figure in the scheme, stepped down Thursday. 

The players involved, unsurprisingly, are not expected to face penalties at all. 

At least not from the league.

The public?

This whole conspiracy highlights that the Astros players don’t have a leg to stand on when these allegations come up -- even the baseless, unwarranted ones. 

The team’s front office has long drawn the ire of folks around Major League Baseball. There are reports about them dealing poorly with people, all while enjoying major success on the field. 

Commissioner Rob Manfred himself called out the team's problematic front-office culture under Luhnow, something Astros owner Jim Crane denied when announcing Luhnow's firing.

Players like Altuve, Bregman and George Springer are mostly easy to like. 

Until these cheating revelations, they were all thought to be of high character as well. 

Now, with Luhnow and Hinch gone, the focus on this enduring cheating legacy lies in the players who perpetuated the nonsense. 

The next logical question after these punishments were levied -- and it became clear the players would skirt -- is how much this would affect their legacies.

Altuve was the American League MVP in 2017. Springer won the World Series MVP.  

I made the point to Sean Pendergast during a morning show earlier this week that if any player benefited least from sign-stealing, it’s Altuve, considering the guy’s never seen a pitch he didn’t like anyway. 

That’s one of the things so admirable about Altuve -- this pint-size man with a big swing and slight regard for a strike zone.

That image of him hitting the walkoff home run off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman to send Houston to its second World Series in three years, warning his teammates not to rip off his jersey, is chilling in hindsight.

Scott Boras, Altuve’s agent, explained it away as the superstar second baseman simply being shy. Through Boras, Altuve released a staunch denial of ever being “involved in any information with the use of an electronic device that is triggered during the course of a game.”

The truth of the matter isn’t so important, considering there’s so much doubt now that he would’ve been punished for it anyway. 

The issue now is these players Astros fans have taken so much pride in will always be coated in doubt.

There will always be a segment of fans, not even necessarily the wackiest of conspiracy theorists, who question how much of the Astros’ success is coming honestly.

They earned this level of skepticism.

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