The Spygate Scandal of Baseball


Ben Ratajczak, Staff reporter

Cheating in professional sports has always been a thing; however, it is very different from gaining a competitive advantage, as people like to call it. Cheating is illegal to do in sports, and it disqualifies the person or the team from competing even if they don’t get caught because it is unfair, where as gaining a competitive advantage is more about being put into a superior circumstance. For example, winning the coin toss, having home field advantage, or even just having more experience, are all ways to gain a competitive advantage. The Houston Astros, however, are under investigation recently for the illegal use of technology to learn the other team’s signs to then gain the advantage. The Astros are a great baseball system, and they have some of the best talent in the world (including multiple award winning pitchers, along with many offensive and defensive MVP level threats Including Jose Altuve, Justin Verlander and Carlos Correa). This scandal could bring about more rules along the lines of cheating within the MLB after the results of this investigation including a punishment due to multiple sources contributing to the problem. 

Recently, former Houston Astros players and employees have come out as whistle blowers,  saying how the team has used a camera in center field to steal the signs given to the pitcher by the catcher. The video would be relayed to the dugout and given to the coaches and players who then (it is assumed) would bang on a trash can if an offspeed pitch was coming or do nothing if a fastball was being thrown. Multiple MLB players have admitted if you know what kind of pitch is coming then it makes it so much easier to hit because you can limit the guess of the pitch down to one or two instead of five. Ryan Ratajczak stated that, “The Astros should be disciplined severely including their players and coaches if they are found that they are cheating because of how much of an advantage it would be.” The MLB directors are looking into the event and have gotten many sources providing information that the cheating was a real event. They plan on discussing punishments to all of the staff involved if it is confirmed but the question that is going around is can they do anything about the 2017 world series they won while cheating? Josh Higgins, baseball player for Orchard Park stated, “It would be completely unfair if I was pitching and they knew what was coming before I threw, and,  on the other hand, it would be much easier to hit if I knew what pitch was being thrown.” This is the basis the MLB is taking because having that advantage could make or break one team or the other, depending on who is the one using cameras in their dugouts. It is an MLB rule in fact that there can not be smart phones or certain technology access in the dugouts during the game, and this is one reason that rule was made.  Nate Lippit stated that, “Cheating happens a lot in sports; however, this may be a situation where the league needs to interfere. I am interested in seeing the resolution to this and the punishments for any players and coaches along with staff.”