The Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros in the 2019 World Series in what was one of the most bizarre, unpredictable championships of all time. The Washington Nationals traveled to Houston for Games 1 & 2 where they stole both games, easily becoming the heavy favorite.
Then the Astros traveled to Washington, D.C. to steal Games 3, 4 & 5, turning the tables and making them the clear favorites. But the Nationals beat the Astros in Houston in Games 6 & 7 – each team won on the other’s home turf, which had never happened in a World Series.
But now the Astros have been exposed in a 2017 cheating scandal when they won their first World Series and it just went from bad to worse.
The biggest irony of the Houston Astros cheating scandal is that they inadvertently exposed themselves in a DVD commemorating the team’s first World Series championship.
A Twitter user known as Jomboy noticed something peculiar when watching the DVD and decided to break it down and post it Twitter.
In the video, Danny Farquhar was on the mound for the White Sox and was facing Evan Gattis of the Astros. Jomboy shows the particular signs in which banging is heard when Farquhar is given a sign to throw an off-speed pitch.
Farquhar told The Athletic he heard “a banging from the dugout, almost like a bat hitting the bat rack every time a changeup signal got put down.”
Jomboy broke it down:
Astros using cameras to steal signs, a breakdown pic.twitter.com/rncm6qzXxw
— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) November 12, 2019
After Farquhar called the catcher to the mound and appears to ask him if he can hear the banging, they knew immediately they needed to switch signs. At that point, “coincidentally” the banging stopped.
How exactly did this work?
The Astros allegedly set up a camera in centerfield that relayed the catcher of the opposing team’s signs to the clubhouse where an unknown member of the Astros would call bang on a trashcan the signal of the upcoming pitch.
Jomboy also points out another moment in the video where a team employee appears to be setting up a television on the table. However, there doesn’t appear to be anything notable being used to bang on the trash can as has been alleged in previous reports.
But it’s hard to argue with the sound you hear, right? It would be nearly inexplicable if the Astros attempted to deny it.
Once Jomboy’s excellent investigative analysis went viral, more and more of the same type of “signaling” was unearthed, that even stretches to other teams doing the same.
The MLB has officially said no other team is being investigated currently, but it would be naïve to think the Astros are the only team to have done at least something similar.
But MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said the Astros punishment could be severe once the investigation is complete.
Speaking as the owners meetings began Tuesday, Manfred called the allegations of technology-driven sign-stealing by the Astros “the most serious matter.” He said “it relates to the integrity of the sport” and promised “a really, really thorough investigation.”
He added, “I’m not going to speculate on what the appropriate discipline is. That depends on how the facts are established at the end of the investigation. The general warning I issued to the clubs, I stand by. It certainly could be all of those [past disciplinary actions], but my authority under the major league constitution would be broader than those things as well.”
What’s really odd about this story too is that there isn’t a widespread outrage amongst other teams and players over this incident. Some players have but it’s not the kind of outrage one would expect, which could only really indicate one thing, maybe many or most of the teams do the same.