Should Major League Baseball do the same to the Houston Astros for a different kind of cheating?
The Astros, who won the World Series in 2017, have been caught stealing pitching signs from their opponents, using a video camera in their home games that year and in parts of 2018.
Sign stealing is a big deal -- especially in closely contested Major League Baseball games, and especially in the postseason, which can be decided on one hit. Should a playoff/World Series round go the full seven games, all decided by one or two runs, that's major.
The video camera operators at the Astros' home games would relay a message about different pitches from opposing players to a drum operator in the stands, who would bang a drum an Astro batter would hear.
Now it seems, there are other allegations of players using an electrical buzzing devices under their uniforms to signal to them what kind of pitch is coming.
Why is this a big deal? Major League Baseball players are the most highly skilled versus the minor league, college and other semiprofessional or non-pros. A heads up as to what pitch is coming gives them a major advantage.
Now you know why competing baseball players and managers are so upset. We are talking about big time baseball players: Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels), Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Kris Bryant (Chicago Cubs).
Should TV advertisers that buy Major League Baseball be upset as well? Will these nagging issues impact long-term sponsorship/advertising business deals?
Actions have been taken: The Astros general manager and manager have been fired for knowing, if not enabling, the sign-stealing issue. Another, Alex Cora, then a bench coach for the Astros, more recently a Boston Red Sox manager, was recently fired, too.
There was also a massive $5 million fine against the Astros, as well as the team forfeiting top drafts picks.
Past cheating: You might think alleged, admitted, and/or tested-positive players in the past concerning performance enhancing drugs -- Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Rafael Palmeiro -- might have tarnished the MLB brand as well. Many say they have. And they did not get into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Other brand damage: Long Beach, California, Little League teams have banned the use of the “Astros” as a team nickname.
Should Major League Baseball, like the Tour de France, make a bigger statement to viewers and advertisers alike to rid some suspicions that a now different kind of cheating has tainted a game?
Or is it just another spitball?