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“What’s going on in baseball now is up there with the Black Sox scandal, and that it will be talked about forever — more so than steroids.”
That’s what Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer had to say about the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal that has formed a dark cloud over Major League Baseball just as the new season gears up.
The famously intense and outspoken Bauer penned a column published Wednesday by The Players Tribune laying out his thoughts on the matter, and said cheating threatens the integrity of the game itself.
“If I lose, fine,” he said. “But if I lose, and then I find out that you were cheating — that you had an advantage that I either didn’t have access to or chose not to utilize because it was technically illegal — then that pisses me off. That can’t happen.”
See: Watch the video that blew the lid off the Houston Astros pitch-stealing scheme
Bauer continued: “Why is what the Astros were doing different (or worse) than anything that had happened before? It’s because of the technology. They were using cameras focused on catchers to relay signs to hitters in real time — like instantly. . . . If you can adjust in real time, what am I supposed to do? How do I compete against that as a pitcher? We might as well just tell batters what pitch is coming and see what happens.”
As for being worse than the steroid scandal, “you can say what you want about it, but steroids weren’t really illegal at the time,” Bauer wrote. “The sign-stealing that was going on in Houston, though, was blatantly illegal.”
Bauer also mentioned how that sort of thing can have huge effects on players and their careers — earlier this week, for example, journeyman pitcher Mike Bolsinger sued the Astros, in effect claiming that their cheating ruined his career.
“I want to see a level playing field for everyone,” Bauer wrote. “Fixing this problem is so important. Not just for the game, but also for the guys who play it.”
In the fallout of the scandal, the Astros’ manager and general manager were suspended for a year, then fired by the team, and the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets fired their managers — both former Astros — for their roles in the cheating. The Astros were also fined $5 million and must forfeit their first- and second-round picks in the next two amateur drafts. In January, Astros owner Jim Crane called the situation “a speed bump.”