Major League Baseball Imposes Sanctions on Houston Astros

Published on January 13th, 2020 6:05 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel



A cheating scandal has shocked the world of baseball. Guilty.

That's the verdict that Major League Baseball handed down against the Houston Astros on Monday.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred handed down a penalty against the Astros on Monday that included the one-year suspensions of Astros' manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow (who were both subsequently fired by the club), the loss of draft picks in 2020 and 2021, as well as a $5 million fine.

Many wanted the league to strip the 2017 title from the Astros, though the league declined to take this step.

These sanctions were in regards to the allegations that the Houston Astros set up an elaborate system in 2017 to steal signs from opposing clubs. This was apparently done through the use of a center-field camera, which would be used to relay pitches to an employee, who would bang on a garbage can in order to tip off Astros' hitters as to what the next pitch would be. Some pretty compelling evidence surfaced that implicated the Astros in this scheme, and Major League Baseball decided that the Astros had been cheating.

These allegations have also spilled over to the Boston Red Sox, where Alex Cora is currently the manager. In 2017, Cora was with the Astros, and some say that he was one of the masterminds behind the sign-stealing scheme.

These allegations had a major impact on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost the World Series in 2017 to the Astros and in 2018 to the Red Sox. These two losses likely cost the Dodgers hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues and increased franchise value.

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The four major sports leagues were extremely hesitant to dive into the world of sports betting for many years due to a single word - integrity. How, they would argue, would the integrity of their games hold up if millions of dollars were being wagered on the outcomes of their games?

Well, as it turns out, the integrity of at least one of the major North American leagues had already been compromised through an elaborate sign-stealing scheme. The major North American leagues always told us that their integrity might be compromised by somebody who had money bet on an event - it turns out that some of the teams themselves were damaging the integrity of the league by stealing signs. In addition, there have been numerous other instances where the leagues have had their integrity compromised from within, whether it is via steroid abuse, the recording of other team's practices or any number of other instances of cheating.

These leagues had a holier-than-thou mentality for many years as they sought to block legal sports betting in the United States, and now they have egg on their faces.

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From a sports betting viewpoint, the implications of these cheating allegations are massive. What happens if you had a massive bet on the 2017 Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series? You would certainly be none-too-pleased about what has transpired, as the Astros' cheating very likely cost you a massive payday.

While the sportsbooks and leagues would likely not be on the hook in cases like this, you can rest assured that deep-pocketed gamblers would stay far away from betting on sports where there may be widespread cheating going on, and this would ultimately hurt the league's bottom lines.

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This is an absolute mess from top to bottom, and I suspect that this story is far from over.

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