What has been a signature sport in the American sports leagues took a massive hit last week when it was revealed that the Houston Astros cheated throughout their historical championship season. Former player for the Astros during the 2017 championship series Mike Fiers publicly admitted that the Houston Astros had a camera recording every sign. Fiers described how the dugout would relay the type of pitch that was going to be thrown by hitting a trash can with a can. The signaling can even be heard in recordings of games during the season in question just before the pitcher released the ball.
These recent discoveries not only have implications for the Houston franchise but for Major League Baseball as a whole. General managers in the MLB are furious with the Houston Astros, especially those who fell victim to these twisted tactics.
At the same time, the attendance issue striking the MLB is causing confusion in the front offices of many teams. This issue is being caused by various reasons, one of these reasons being the competitiveness level of the league, shown in lower level teams.
The Tampa Bay Rays have consistently have had low average attendance during the regular season, with the exception of their playoff berth. Teams that are unable to perform, such as the Rays, have lower fan morale and gives them no reason to attend a match. The correlation is clear, yet superteams such as the New York Yankees still exist. They consistently dominate every year and give no chance for lower teams to perform.
The cheating scandal surrounding the dominant Houston Astros makes matters even worse. It brings into question if other teams share the same tactics, especially the most powerful ones in the sport. Should other strong teams be caught cheating like this, it will only trigger most frustration throughout the league. Demoralized fans will continue to lose support for their team, continue to boycott the games, and continue to add on to the decline of this signature American sport.
It is up to the MLB what will be their game plan when approaching this serious matter. The preferred action is that they are strict when it comes to the punishment for the Astros. It will show that no team, regardless of size or success, is above the rulebook. It will also give some closure to the teams that had to suffer due to this uneven playing field.
Also, by sentencing strict punishments, the MLB sets up a precedent for potential cheaters. It will show that playing clean is worth so much more than having to suffer the punishment for cheaters. It will stop the loop of misfortune in the baseball world and hopefully lead it back on top. Ultimately, it will be up to the executives in the MLB but we can only hope they make the right choice. In such a crucial moment in the future of Major League Baseball, this decision will be a sign of things to come.
Miguel Arceo is a student athlete at Sebring High School.