Should The Astros Be Stripped of Their Championship?
California has recently petitioned Major League Baseball to strip the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox of their World Series Championships, due to the cheating scandals both teams are going through. This petition would award both championships to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost in the Wold Series in 2017 (Houston) and 2018 (Boston). The MLB recently handed down punishment Houston, which led to the Astros firing their Manager and General Manager.
The MLB is currently investigating cheating allegations against the Boston Red Sox. While the Houston Astros have already been punished, there is a belief that the Astros cheating scandal could deeper than what Major League Baseball investigated. Internet detectives believe that Astros players wore technology underneath their uniforms, such as buzzers, to tip off pitches to teammates. Like anything on the internet, take this with a grain of salt. If you are interested in these types of sports conspiracies, this a topic worth researching.
Sports leagues (Specifically Major League Baseball) and fans have to ask themselves one question:
Should professional sports teams found guilty of cheating be stripped of their championships?
My immediate reaction is to this question is no. However, if it’s proved that Houston Astros players actively wore technology to cheat during the game, I think it’s an option to consider. If Major League Baseball were to take this step, it would send shockwaves throughout every sport. The NCAA are the kings of trying to make you forget about champions and players. (1980s SMU and Reggie Bush’s 2005 Heisman come to mind immediately)
The most powerful deterrent to cheating would to strip a team of a championship. In college, it’s overwhelmingly done because a player took money or had an improper benefit. It rarely has to do with actual cheating on the field. Stripping a professional team of it’s championship and then awarding to the runner up would cause quite a commotion, but I think it would be the most effective punishment against cheating. The NCAA doesn’t re-award National Championships and Heisman Trophies, but imagine if they did. Instead of pretending the 2013 NCAA Tournament didn’t happen because the championship was vacated, imagine if the NCAA awarded that championship was awarded to the runner-up Michigan Wolverine. Pretending championships didn’t happen doesn’t work, rewriting history to re-award championship would and adds a sense of finality. Instead of googling the 2013 NCAA Tournament to find out that Louisville won tournament, only for there to be an asterisk or parenthesis saying the title was vacated, the answer would know be the Michigan Wolverines.
In my opinion, this would only work in professional sports as the NCAA doesn’t have the wherewithal to do this. This would also should pettiness from a professional sports league, which we need more of. If the MLB really wants to stop cheating, taking away championships and re-awarding them is top-level petty.
I do think pro-sports leagues should consider this option. Even if they never use it, the threat could deter teams from cheating.
Leagues and sports fans have to ask themselves three questions when it comes to cheating:
Are fines, suspensions, and loss of draft picks enough?/Does the punishment fit the crime?
Did a majority of players, coaches, and front office actively participate or have knowledge of said cheating?
Not all cheating scandals are the same, which means not all cheating cases should lead to a revocation of a championship. In some cases a simple fine or loss of draft picks can be enough.
The final question sports fans must ask themselves is: Did this case of cheating affect the integrity of the league and championship?
Like most things in sports, I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. I do think this a topic that is interesting to think about when we see widespread, organizational cheating in a sport.
Leave a comment and tell us what you think