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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Report: MLB warned Astros, Red Sox about cheating prior to 2018 ALCS

Rob Manfred

The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox are the two teams investigated for cheating in the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and it sounds like they had fair warning of whistleblowers ahead of their meeting in the 2018 American League Championship Series.

ESPN’s Karl Ravech relayed a story on the “Baseball Tonight” podcast around the 10:50 mark about how the managers and GMs of the Astros and Red Sox — A.J. Hinch, Jeff Luhnow, Alex Cora, and Dave Dombrowski — were summoned to a meeting with chief baseball officer Joe Torre ahead of the 2018 ALCS, where they were collectively warned that any cheating ran the risk of being exposed by someone who left their organization.

“At some point there’s going to be a player or players or front office person that’s going to leave your team, go to another team, and basically rat you guys out, basically tell the dirty secrets,” Ravech said of Torre’s message.

Ravech said the meeting “scared the heck” out of both teams and ensured that any behavior did not continue into 2019. He added it was unclear if Torre knew specifics of what both teams were doing or was simply issuing a warning.

Ultimately, this came true in the Astros’ case, as Mike Fiers went public with information about their system. It seems very hard to believe that both teams would be shocked by this sort of disclosure. It’s also not clear how much MLB knew at the time and how serious they were about pursuing it. It is the closest we’ve come to getting a reason for the Astros no longer cheating into the 2019 season as MLB investigators claim happened, a finding questioned by some players.

This sure makes it sound like MLB knew something was up at early as 2018, assuming this report is correct. It would make sense considering the Red Sox had run afoul of sign stealing rules a year earlier. The question would then become why they didn’t act more authoritatively at the time, which helped lead to what we’re seeing now.

The Houston Astros are confirmed cheaters and deserve an asterisk. Send that message by wearing our Houston Asterisks T-shirt! You can buy it here:

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