The Houston Astros: Counterfeit Champs

By Rudy Ortiz on January 17, 2020
LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 01: Carlos Correa #1 of the Houston Astros hoists the Commissioner’s Trophy after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in game seven to win the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, we found out through investigations conducted by Major League Baseball in 2017 the Houston Astros violated league rules against using video technology to steal signs. More recently, it has been alleged that some of their hitters went so far as to attach buzzers to their shoulders underneath their jerseys,which would indicate when certain pitches were being thrown.

They won their first World Series ever that year.

As a Dodger fan I would never ask that the Astros be stripped of their World Series title from 2017. Honestly, I wouldn’t even want a title given to my team by default. There’s no honor in that. I’m just going to live with the fact that the Dodgers were so good that they played all the way down to the wire against a team that was deliberately and collectively cheating.

Do all teams cheat or at least try to? Maybe, but Houston got caught. That makes them worthy of the disgrace that they’re suffering now. I salute their organization for firing the manager and general manager because somebody should pay for embarrassing the franchise like this. As a fan of the game it’s a tough one to swallow. They didn’t just cheat the Dodgers. They cheated the entire game, its history and the fans. One of the greatest World Series to ever be played has been officially reduced to an eye roll.

This is not the same as the steroids scandal and not the same as Pete Rose betting on his own team to win. This is worse. Multiple members of the organization, from coaches to players, were heavily involved. It’s like having one rogue police officer who breaks the law versus an entire city council who condones them breaking the law. There’s a difference.

I really mean it when I say this: that 2017 World Series was so beautifully played that, even though my beloved Dodgers lost, it felt like an honor to witness it and cheer my team on even in defeat. The Astros ruined something truly special that was enjoyed by baseball fans everywhere. Anything short of banning all guilty parties from baseball for life will not suffice.

Sports tragedies of historical proportions don’t happen that often but, unfortunately, we are watching one unfold now. And, unlike the Astros championship season, this is real.