Ben Maller: “This is one of the darkest days for Major League Baseball since Pete Rose was banned from baseball… Listen, sign stealing in baseball is perfectly fine and a form of gamesmanship, but what the Astros have done is repulsive and they have crossed the line. Rob Manfred must step up to the plate and grow a spine here. The integrity of baseball and the very foundation of the sport is at stake. The Astros have shown a reckless disregard for the consequences of their action. Baseball needs to consider taking a page out of the NCAA playbook and strong-arm the cheating Astros like they did to SMU. They must forfeit the 2017 World Series.” (Full Audio at Bottom of Page)
Listen to Ben Maller explain why Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred need to exercise severely stiff punitive measures when deliberating on the allegations currently being levied at the Houston Astros.
The Athletic wrote a damning expose (article is behind a paywall) into the American League juggernaut’s use of sign stealing to gain an unlawful competitive advantage on their opponents. Sign stealing is as synonymous with baseball as peanuts and crackerjacks, but the Astros are being accused for far most illicit activities than that include the use of cameras, monitors, and noisemakers.
Former Astros pitcher turned whistleblower Mike Fiers detailed some of the cheating in The Athletic's report.
Fiers, who pitched for the team from 2015-2017, said the team had a TV monitor around the home dugout at Minute Maid Park that had a clear and magnified view of the opponents’ catcher that was shot from a discrete center field camera.
Astros players or staff would then watch the rigged up monitor in the tunnel while Houston players were batting and see where the opposing catcher was setting up and what fingers he was throwing down. They would then relay to the Astros batter up at the plate which pitch was likely coming next by literally banging on trash cans, whistling, or hitting the ceiling of the dugout to signal if it was an off-speed pitch or a fastball.
Former White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar told The Athletic that he heard loud bangs coming from the Astros’ dugout moments before he threw offspeed pitches, but would not hear the radiating sounds before he threw fastballs. A user on Twitter even uploaded a video of Farquhar facing former Astros catcher Evan Gattis that clearly shows loud banging noises coming from the Houston dugout before specific pitches.
Check out the audio below as Maller details why he thinks the Astros should receive one of the most severe penalties ever given out in pro sports and have to forfeit their 2017 World Series title.