The Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal cost manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow their jobs, and Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora could be next.
Hinch and Luhnow were fired Monday after being suspended by Major League Baseball for the team's illicit use of electronics to steal signs during Houston's run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the discipline and strongly hinted that Cora - the Astros bench coach in 2017 - will face equal or more severe punishment. Manfred said Cora developed the sign-stealing system used by the Astros. The Red Sox are under investigation for stealing signs in Cora's first season as manager in 2018, when Boston won the World Series. Houston was fined $5 million, the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, as punishment. The Astros will also forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.
The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter's odds of getting a hit. Sign stealing is a legal and time-honored part of baseball as long as it is done with the naked eye - say, by a baserunner standing on second. Using technology is prohibited. Astros players disputed whether knowing the pitches seconds in advance helped batters.
Today on AirTalk, we’ll talk about the wider impact and potential fallout from the scandal on Major League Baseball and explore the Dodgers’ place in all of this.
With files from the Associated Press
Nick Roman, host of KPCC’s “All Things Considered”; he tweets @RomanOnTheRadio
Bill Shaikin, baseball writer for The Los Angeles Times; he tweets @BillShaikin