The Tampa Bay Rays clashed with the Houston Astros in last year’s ALDS. With the last week throwing the baseball world out of orbit, it seems even more information is percolating.
Last week the Houston Astros’ (who eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2019 ALDS) manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one year by the commissioner’s office and subsequently terminated by Astros’ owner, Jim Crane.
This was a result of Major League Baseball’s investigation into claims that the Astros had organized a high-tech sign-stealing system.
They had a live camera feed running to a monitor just outside the dugout and would make noises by banging on trash cans (or other methods) to notify the hitters of pitch type.
One of the ring leaders was bench coach, Alex Cora. He would take his talents to Boston the next season and teach them the ways of the dark side. Cora’s contract has since been terminated as he awaits punishment by the MLB.
Met’s new manager Carlos Beltran was a player that season but was named as a key contributor in the scheme. He has parted ways with the Mets.
Heads have rolled. It has been an offseason full of anger and “what-ifs?” Teams and players find themselves wondering what could have been if not for the cheating.
Word was that Yu Darvish must have been tipping his pitches in the 2017 World Series against the Astros, it was as if they knew what was coming. Dodgers executives reviewed the footage and were certain he wasn’t providing any clue as to what pitch was coming.
Last season the Astros utterly destroyed Rays’ breakout star, Tyler Glasnow. Glasnow finished with a 1.78 ERA for the Rays in 2019 with the nastiest stuff around. He didn’t even make it three innings in his start.
It’s all speculation right now as to how much impact the cheating had on the outcomes of these games. It’s all “what-ifs” at this point, but it seems warranted considering the proof.
Now beyond the proof, the Astros have been accused of using a buzzer system. A Twitter account (now removed) claimed to be Carlos Beltran’s niece made claims about the Astros using a patch under the jersey that buzzed to convey which pitch was coming.
Now people are looking at Jose Altuve‘s walk-off home run in the 2019 ALCS a lot differently.
Major League Baseball has stated that there is no evidence the Astros used a buzzer system. Many fans (and even players) are not buying it anymore.
David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweeted:
"Talked to several former big-leaguers in past two days and each of them said he either believed or wouldn’t be at all surprised if the buzzer rumors about the Astros were true."
He included a quote with explicit language so I won’t embed the tweet. The link is here.
With Boston taking the Rays’ division in 2018 and the Astros eliminating the Rays last season, you have to wonder what could have been for the Tampa Bay Rays.