John Gerchak, Staff Writer
Spring is just around the corner, which means professional baseball will soon be back. Before that, however, Saint Martin’s University needs to make its way through the Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) off-season; and boy, it has been an interesting one. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox let their managers go in light of a recent sign-stealing scandal. The New York Mets also parted ways with their manager, Carlos Beltrán, after being the only player named in Rob Manfred’s investigation into the 2017 Astros. Although these were incidents that occurred while he was a player, he is being outed as a confirmed cheater, at least in the eyes of many MLB fans.
In the wake of news surrounding the Astros stealing signs from other teams while in their home park, Tony Adams can be recognized for doing God’s work. Adams decided to go through every Astros regular-season home game in 2017 and audibly record every instance of someone banging a garbage can before a pitch was thrown. Adams himself is an Astros fan, yet he wanted to do his own research into the extent of the cheating that went on.
Adams made the data that he collected available at signstealingscandal.com. There, one can read his findings in great detail; but it is worth noting that of the pitches counted by Adams- of which there were over eight-thousand- more than one-thousand garbage cans were recorded being banged. Not only that, but it appears as though it had gotten worse over time, with the majority of recorded bangs occurring in the second half of the season.
It’s pretty clear how the majority of fans feel about the situation, but player opinions seem to be more split than one would expect. Tucker Barnhart appeared on sports analyst Pat McAfee’s radio show to share his thoughts on the whole situation.
In the interview, Tucker was dismissive of the idea that the managers should have been fired, because in 2017 when the cheating occurred, there was no written rule prohibiting the method in which the Astros used to steal the signs, though he did admit it was against the unwritten rules of the gentleman’s sport. The way he saw things, it was part of his job to better disguise the signs he was giving to prevent them from being stolen.
Aside from the scandals, this has been a strangely quiet off-season. The only huge free agent signing came courtesy of the Yankees, who acquired Gerrit Cole from free agency after he, ironically enough, left the Astros.
Next to that, Boston is looking to trade Mookie Betts, but there have not been any confirmed trade partners as of yet, though a trade does seem likely considering the number of teams that have been rumored to have an interest.
Other than the aforementioned trades, there have only been a few small trades, mostly for relief pitchers, and few teams have gone on management hiring sprees, even those caught up in the sign stealing scandal.
The off-season thus far has been dominated by talk of the scandal and has lacked a lot of its usual excitement. Hopefully it will pick up before spring training, but only time will tell.