Jose Altuve is one of the best baseball players in the world. As team captain he should have been able to do more to prevent his teammates from cheating.
Despite evidence to the contrary, Carlos Correa has continually denied Altuve’s involvement in the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal that has rocked the baseball world for the past month. If it was true that he wasn’t personally involved, as the captain and unquestioned team leader, any issues with his teammates cheating it was on him to step up and put a stop to it. The fact that he chose not to makes him just as guilty as the players that did in fact cheat.
Commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed last month what had been long suspected: The Houston Astros were cheating during the 2017 season, which ended with them winning the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. The commissioners’ report stated that the Astros used a camera in centerfield at their stadium to steal the catcher’s signs and relayed them to the dugout, where an Astro employee would bang on a trash can to tip off the hitter as to what pitch was coming.
This gave Houston an unfair advantage. Knowing what pitch is coming it turns the game into batting practice. With no guesswork it changes the scope of the game. Players throughout the MLB like Mike Trout and Giancarlo Stanton have stated would see vast improvements to their numbers, if they knew what pitch was coming.
Now as we get ready for the 2020 season, things seem to be falling apart for the Astros. Players from the other 29 teams throughout the MLB are calling on the commissioner to strip the Astros of their title. Some of the biggest names in the game are taking shots at them, and fans are lining up at their preseason games to voice their displeasure. Cody Bellinger said That Altuve robbed New York Yankee outfielder Aarron Judge of the AL MVP, and the Astros stole the World Series. Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis feels that all Astros players deserve a beating.
In 2017, Altuve was in his seventh season in the big leagues, all of them in Houston. Fans loved him for his outstanding play and good deeds in the community. He was respected by his peers and in the media, having been awarded the Silver Slugger the previous three years, honoring the best hitter at each position. Most of all, he is loved and respected by his teammates, one of whom, Shortstop Carlos Correa, went out of his way to defend Altuve in the media, claiming he wanted no part of cheating. Even if it’s true he still benefits from this system. The Astros as a team would destroy the confidence of the pitchers as they see their best pitches getting drilled, and Altuve coming up in a prime spot to deliver a damaging blow game after game.
The sad part about all of this is the effect it may have on the kids who admire Altuve, not just in Houston, but everywhere baseball is played. The kids who are told they can’t make their high school team because they are too small. They could point to Altuve and think, if he can do it, so can I. It just takes a lot of hard work. How many of those kids now think their idol was a fraud? How many of those kids now, think, I can make it too, as long as I am willing to be a cheater?