Regardless of the sport, every professional athlete is competitive. Some players, however, are more willing to push the envelope than others; the Houston Astros, as we now know, stole signs during their run to the World Series title. New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman, however, isn’t willing to cross the line.
Despite feeling like he was wronged by the Astros, Stroman isn’t going to take the mound looking for revenge. He’s focusing on taking the high road.
The Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal
While sign-stealing has historically been a part of baseball, using outside technology, rather than logic and on-field observation, is generally considered cheating. The Houston Astros, however, took things to the next level.
In November 2019, The Athletic first reported that the Astros stole signs en route to the 2017 World Series title. Using a camera in center field, the team was able to observe and decipher the opposing catcher’s signs; once the code was cracked, players would audibly warn the batter—usually by banging on a trash can—when an offspeed pitch was on the way.
After a lengthy investigation, Major League Baseball determined that the Houston Astros had done what The Athletic described. The club was docked several draft picks and fined $5 million; general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch both received one-year suspensions and were subsequently fired. The players, however, didn’t receive any formal punishment from the league.
Marcus Stroman responds to the Astros sign-stealing on social media
While Marcus Stroman currently plies his trade in the National League, the Mets pitcher encountered the Houston Astros during his time with the Toronto Blue Jays. One of those meetings took place during the 2017 campaign.
In November, Ian Hunter shared a video from that game. The clip showed multiple Astros batters taking pitches from Stroman; prior to each pitch, a banging sound could be heard. On Monday, the pitcher retweeted the video in light of the recent developments.
“S–t makes sense now,” Stroman wrote. “I remember wondering how these guys were laying off some of my nasty pitches. Relaying all my signs in live speed to the batter. Ruining the integrity of the game. These dudes were all about the camera and social media. Now, they’re all quiet! Lol”
Stroman won’t go looking for revenge, though
Baseball, for better or worse, has plenty of unwritten rules. While most purists would claim that Stroman would be well within his rights to seek revenge against the Houston Astros, the pitcher is taking the high road.
“Many individuals on here saying to intentionally throw at the Houston hitters,” Stroman wrote in another tweet. “Personally, I would never do that. Too calm in my mind to want to retaliate and would never try to injure another human being over past actions. Revenge will never solve anything…karma will!”
While he might be stepping over a low bar, it’s worth acknowledging Stroman’s unwillingness to intentionally throw at a batter. Refusing to injure someone else is hardly a groundbreaking position but, when people like Pete Rose are suggesting that you can fight sign-stealing with beanballs, it’s still a step in the right direction.
Ever since childhood, we’ve probably all heard that two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s refreshing to see a professional athlete embracing that sentiment. The Houston Astros might have cheated, but hitting someone in the head won’t change the results of the 2017 World Series.