Crazy twist in US cheating ’fiasco’

The fallout of the Houston Astros cheating scandal has reached ludicrous levels with the latest bombshell claims rocking Major League Baseball.

The sign stealing scandal has already seen Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow sacked by the team after they were handed a full season suspension without pay by the MLB, while the team must also forfeit its regular first and second-round selections in 2020 and 2021 drafts as well as paying a $5 million fine.

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Former Astros turned MLB managers Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran both reportedly decided to “part ways” with the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets respectively.

Cora was the Astros bench coach in 2017 and the alleged architect of the sign-stealing scheme.

“Early in the (2017) season, Alex Cora, the Astros’ bench coach, began to call the replay review room on the replay phone to obtain the sign information,” the report says.

“Cora arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the centre field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros’ dugout.”

Beltran was a player at the time and the only one named in the commissioner’s report, alleging he and a group of unnamed Astros players “discussed that the team could improve on decoding opposing teams’ signs and communicating the signs to the batter.”

Manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were both let go by the Astros.Source:AFP

It comes after the explosive report from The Athletic ’s Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich reported the stunning claims of former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers, who was one of the four players who accused the team of illegally stealing signs.

The news broke back in November of last year with the MLB handing down sanctions earlier this week.

Sign stealing has been an issue throughout the history of the MLB and occurs when a team decodes and relays the catcher’s signal to the batter.

While usually done by a player on second base, the Astros have been accused of using a camera in the outfield trained on the catcher.

The act is generally frowned upon and doing so with the help of electronic equipment makes it an illegal act in the league.

The Astros reportedly had a camera in centre field, fixed on the opposing catcher’s signs which was connected to a TV monitor in the home dugout before sharing the information by banging on a garbage can.

But the scandal is pushing on to crazy levels with new accusations levelled at players.

‘TOO SHY’ STAR ACCUSED OF WIRES

American League 2017 MVP Jose Altuve hit a home run during the sixth game of the 2019 Championship Series but as he came home, the star held his jersey.

It has sparked speculation the Astros were wearing buzzers, which could receive signals for what pitches were coming.

Altuve making sure he keeps that jersey on (via r/nyyankees) pic.twitter.com/OO32FVFxTi

Tweets have accused Altuve, Josh Reddick and Alex Bregman of wearing the wires with a Twitter account professing to be Beltran’s niece seemingly pointing the finger.

The Beltran family have also denied to ESPN that the user is related to them.

The Beltrán family told me that this individual, who claims to be Carlos Beltrán's "niece", is not related to the family in any way. This person may or may not have additional information about the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, but they are not related to the Beltráns. https://t.co/2vTdiqGvl4

While the MLB said in a statement to the New York Post the league “explored wearable devices during the investigation, but found no evidence to substantiate it”, the speculation hasn’t slowed.

Beltran's niece tweeting about the buzzers, which matches up with what Ive been told from about 5 different parties. pic.twitter.com/zla70bW0Wu

Josh Reddick possibly wearing the wire that Beltran’s niece has been tweeting about pic.twitter.com/tMsAgnvE6N

I don't know what this wire/metal chain is that Josh Reddick was wearing, but that gold strip is just a piece of confetti. pic.twitter.com/WPkXhblu1V

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer also said he had heard about potential use of electronic buzzers.

I’ve heard this from multiple parties too, for what it’s worth… https://t.co/zDlp0x4bKs

Altuve’s representative Scott Boras also denied the accusations in a statement to The Post.

“(Altuve) has never been involved in any information with the use of an electronic device that is triggered during the course of the game,’’ Boras said.

“Fans need to keep in mind that there are a lot of players who are in the spider web, but they are not the black widow just because they are a member of the team or the league.’’

Jose Altuve was awarded the series MVP of the ALCS in 2019.Source:Getty Images

He added that not wanting his shirt pulled off was an example of “the shyness of Jose Altuve.”

He had also laughed it off after the match, saying, “I don’t know. I’m too shy. Last time they did that, I got in trouble with my wife.”

But fans on social media were quick to hit back at the claims with pictures of the shirtless star.

“I don’t know. I’m too shy.” – Jose Altuve #Astros pic.twitter.com/3ftmXPlQv2

Damn, Altuve you weren’t “too shy” to post these shirtless pics of you on your own social media… Things just aren’t adding up🧐🧐🧐 pic.twitter.com/cgwxUXDCdi

JoSe aLtUvE iS tOo sHy tO hAvE hIs sHiRt rIpPeD oFf pic.twitter.com/OqoyLLZ32S

REACTION TO LATEST BOMBSHELL

The new layer of sign stealing has been a massive bombshell for the league with players comparing it to some of the biggest scandals in the history of the game including the steroids era and the 1919 Black Sox affair.

Steroids were banned in baseball from the early 1990s but enforcement only began in 2003 with the era marked by allegations of rampant use of performance enhancing drugs, including some of the biggest names in the sport at the time including Jose Canseco, Alex Rodriguez, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds.

The Black Sox Scandal refers to the match fixing scandal which saw eight members of the Chicago White Sox accused of throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds for cash from a gambling syndicate.

Speaking on 2GB’s Sportzone with James Willis former Aussie MLB player Glenn Williams explained why the Astros scandal is such a major issue.

“Generally it’s done in real time with humans but the Astros seem to have gone a step further and are using electronic devices to be able to pinpoint what’s going on and signalling to the hitter what’s coming on,” Williams said.

“There are pitcher that have a certain tell on the way they hold their glove that gives away what pitch is coming along.

“It’s likened to, someone said on Twitter the other day, if you’re playing poker with someone and they’ve got a tell on whether they’ve got a good hand or not, that’s one thing but if you’ve got someone standing behind them and telling you what’s coming, that’s a whole thing in itself.”

The Houston Astros have been one of the MLB’s powerhouses, making two of the last three World Series’.Source:AFP

Former Mets star and Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza took aim at the scandal.

“I think it is very sad, a very sad episode for the game,’’ Piazza said before adding stealing signs live would be “fair game”.

“Unfortunately, it’s an unintended consequence of the digital age and all this information. I hope and pray that it is behind the game. Obviously there are punishments being dished out. There is no excuse for that. In my era, it never would have happened.

“It is really disturbing because there is no place for that in the game and I’m glad at least that the commissioner has made a very bold decision to punish those (responsible). Sign stealing on the field of play if a guy is sloppy with his signs is fair game. But to use a centrefield camera to steal signs, there is obviously no place for that.’’

But there was also an explosion of reaction from current MLB stars who aren’t happy about the drama.

I would rather face a player that was taking steroids than face a player that knew every pitch that was coming.

For the sake of the game I Hope this isn’t true.. if true, there needs to be major consequences to the players. That Completely ruins the integrity of the game!!!

I’m in a mood right now after hearing the latest bs teams have been up to. 😡

This is crazy. Truly can’t believe all this shit coming out in baseball. Just going to sit back and see how it all plays out. I know my thoughts but those will stay internal. I’ve learned that “no comment” is the best option at times! Lol

These reports of cheating from the @astros are next level. What a joke. If it is in fact 💯 % true then the WS in 17 should be stripped as well as all individual awards. 🤥🤥 Don’t @ me.

What happened to the term “cheaters never prosper”?

This is getting good! pic.twitter.com/RHg2qQRODV

Illinois Democrat Bobby Rush is also proposing hearing by several subcommittees into the scandal.

In a statement he said “it is clear that major league baseball is firmly in the midst of ‘an ethical crisis’.”

Many children, and adults for that matter, look up to professional athletes as a testament to the American Dream and what is possible through hard work and determination.

This latest fiasco is nothing short of a gut punch to those cherished ideals. #MLBCheatingScandal https://t.co/gTtNc9NJlt

Safe to say this scandal isn’t over.

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