It’s September 22, 2017. Danny Farquhar is facing Evan Gattis. This moment will come to define the Astros’ cheating scandal, but we don’t know it yet. It’s a 2-2 count. Catcher Kevan Smith puts down a sign, it’s a changeup. Danny Farquhar is about to pitch, but he steps off of the mound. He calls Kevan Smith to the mound. Smith goes back, and the next pitch Gattis struck out swinging.
Yes, they cheated. That one play showed it. But that’s not the question. Why didn’t we notice?
In this day and age, technology in baseball is everything. It can be used for good things, such as Moneyball. We won’t ever forget Billy Beane, or his assistant. That is technology at it’s finest. But the Astros, they took technology and abused it. They made us question wether technology should be allowed, and the Red Sox! The Red Sox! That showed us.
Let’s go back to the moment. Nowadays, you can watch the full game on YouTube. I highly recommend it. I did. And I heard the trash can banging, loud and clear. It was just, sad. But we should have known.
Let’s pretend that you are watching a lawsuit. Just as the defendant is about to say something, there is a pencil tapping at a table. The plaintiffs win that lawsuit, because it seems like they are one step ahead of the defendants. Well, they are. They’ve been cheating with a camera. It’s the same exact thing with the Astros.
As I mention often, it’s the small things in baseball that make the game great. It’s the fans yelling weird stuff. It’s the way the umpires call a strike out. And it’s how some people BANG ON A TRASH CAN VERY LOUDLY! We could definitely tell. We just weren’t paying attention. But Danny Farquhar was. And thank God for him.
I’m not trying to say that the Astros were stupid, well I sort of am. They weren’t dumb. They knew that Farquhar noticed. There was panic in the dugout after this, and the Astros got another 2 outs after that. I did not hear any trash cans.
Do you remember Brandon Taubman? Well, if you don’t, I will give you a run down of the Taubman scandal.
After Game 6 of the ALCS, the game in which the Astros won to clinch the AL Pennant, Brandon Taubman taunted a group of female reporters by saying “Thank God we got Osuna! I’m so f***ing glad we got Osuna! In 2018 Roberto Osuna was with the Blue Jays was suspended 75 games for assaulting his then girlfriend. So while being bad on it’s own, being directed to female reporters is even worse.
This to me proves that the Astros culture was toxic, and it was willing to do ANYTHING, even if it wasn’t the right thing, to win a game. And Taubman was the Assistant GM, so it wasn’t just anyone. If this culture is permitted in the front office, then what about in the clubhouse? AJ Hinch is a man of integrity, but it doesn’t rub off to his players, his former players. Hinch tried to set an example as he destroyed the camera more than once. But he knew about it. He obviously knew about it.
At SoxFest on Friday, Dallas Keuchel was the first official player in he scandal to apologize. Keep in mind that the scandal came out on November 12th, 2019. It’s been 3 months. And it’s not like players have not had the chance to apologize. Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve each had an opportunity, and they never apologized. This shows the culture of the Astros, the toxic culture. It’s not like players regret it. They just think that it will blow over. It’s horrible. But it’s real.
In 1951 the Giants used a telescope to steal signs. As crazy as this was, it was the truth. Sign stealing has existed forever. But before 2017, it was never used to win a World Series. The ultimate goal, achieved by cheating. That’s not right.
We should have seen the signs. We should have seen Danny Farquhar’s lead. We should have seen it. But we didn’t. And well, here we are.
The punishment wasn’t harsh. It wasn’t franchise killing, and it doesn’t help that Jim Crane is Rob Manfred’s boss. That’s a broken system.
Dallas Keuchel is hardly a hero. While I did say that he apologized, what he said after that shocked me. He said that Mike Fiers shouldn’t have told the media, and that he was disrespecting the clubhouse. That is a toxic, secretive environment. It’s sad what some teams do, and the cultures that they create. The 1951 Giants culture wasn’t bad. But this is.
Jim Crane is a man of a lot of power. I know this because he fired his 2 guys with a lot of power, his manager and his GM. The people who built this rebuild. The people that knew about it. So that brings the question: Did Jim Crane know about it? I say yes. Many would say no, but it went on for over a year. I think that AJ Hinch told him, but he was fine with it. While this is a conspiracy theory, I do think that it has a good chance at being true.
Crane is also a man of power because he is Rob Manfred’s boss, but I’ve explained that earlier.
In the end, we know that the Astros are a corrupt franchise, and we know to never trust them again.