LOS ANGELES, CA — The Astros 2017 World Series win against the Dodgers may end up with an asterisk attached.
After a former Astros pitcher this week admitted his team used an outfield camera to steal pitching signs, the Dodgers on Wednesday admitted they suspected as much during the World Series. Remember those World Series Games back in 2017 against the Astros when the Dodgers’ Yu Darvish twice gave up four runs in two starts lasting barely two innings? What seemed like a spectacular meltdown at the time may turn out to be something much more sinister. The Astros on Wednesday confirmed a Major League Baseball investigation into allegations that the Houston team illegally used cameras to steal the Dodgers pitching signs.
If true, the Astros would be in violation of league rules. In Los Angeles, suspicions of cheating lingered since Astros sluggers dominated the Dodgers bullpen, which was supposed to be the team’s strength. The suspicions were seemingly confirmed Tuesday when Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers told the Athletic website that the team used a camera in the outfield to steal signs and a series of codes from the dugout to inform hitters of the next pitch coming their way. Fiers, who went on to play for the Detroit Tigers and the Oakland Athletics, said he wants to see an end to similar practices around the league.
“I just want the game to be cleaned up a little bit because there are guys who are losing their jobs because they’re going in there not knowing,” Fiers told The Athletic. “Young guys getting hit around in the first couple of innings starting a game, and then they get sent down….It’s ruining jobs for younger guys. The guys who know are more prepared. But most people don’t. That’s why I told my team. We had a lot of young guys with Detroit [in 2018] trying to make a name and establish themselves. I wanted to help them out and say, ‘Hey, this stuff really does go on. Just be prepared.'”
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The Astros on Wednesday released a statement vowing to cooperate with the league’s investigation into the allegations. The club declined to confirm or deny Fiers’ allegation in the public statement.
However, in an interview with ESPN, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow urged people not to jump to conclusions.
“I have heard what you all have heard, which is allegations,” he said. “This isn’t the first one I heard and it’s not the first one you all have heard. Like I said, I think the best course of action is not to speculate right now. We are going to look into it with the cooperation of the MLB and we will find out what there is.”
The Dodgers, for their part, are waiting to see where the investigation goes too.
Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations, told the Los Angeles Times, the team had long suspected something was wrong.
“There was just a lot of speculation at the time about it,” Friedman confirmed.
However, he added that he didn’t want to comment on Fiers’ allegation because it would sound like sour grapes coming from the losing team.
Since that series, the Dodgers have implemented new measures to contend with teams that may be using illegal technology to steal signs.
“I think there are things that have existed since the beginning of time,” Friedman told the Times. “And then there are other things that are more egregious and clearly across the line. And I think there are enough people involved in it that you have to be pretty brazen to do certain things. And when you do, people are going to find out about it.”
Darvish, who now plays for the Cubs, made light of his unwitting role in the scandal, tweeting, “Why am I tranding? (sic).Do people finally realize I’m cool?”