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It wasn’t long ago that it was discovered that the Houston Astros had been using technology to illegally steal the signs of opposing teams in previous seasons and it seems a month out we’re still feeling the aftereffects.
At least that’s the case in the Pennsylvania 16/31 Little League District where the league director has decided to ban the use of the Major League team name by his players.
Little Leagues across the country emulate their grown-up Major League heroes in more ways than collecting baseball cards. Across the county, Little League teams borrow the names of MLB teams, but the Astros will no longer be an option for some Pennsylvania kids.
Speaking to ESPN, the district head, Bob Bertoni had this to say:
“Right now, in our leagues, the Astros are suspended. I think about our Little League pledge; that’s the first thing that comes to my mind. Part of the pledge is, ‘I will play fair and strive to win.”
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Rival MLB teams have suspected the Astros of stealing for years but it wasn’t proven until recently that they had in fact used cameras to steal signed during the 2017-2018 seasons.
The scheme involved a camera aimed at the rival team with the feed being relayed to the Astros dugout where they would replay the signs to their players.
To make matters worse the cheating scandal appears to have aided the Astros in their 2017 World Series victory.
The Astros general manager and field manager have both been suspended for the entire 2020 season and the team sustained a minor fine with the player receiving immunity from further punishment for their cooperation.
These punishments were criticized as exceedingly light by many fans who posit that an entire team, coaches included, caught cheating for two straight years deserved a heavier hand.
Much of the blame has fallen on MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred whose choice of punishment angered many fans, big and little alike. In an ESPN interview, Manfred insisted that the public shame was punishment enough.
When asked about the Astros having won the World Series trophy with the aid of cheating Manfred referred to the trophy as, “just a piece of metal.” Needless to say, these comments didn’t go over well with already angered fans causing an already huge scandal to become more exaggerated.
Controversially there are now prop betting options on how many times Astros players are likely to be struck by pitched balls by the opposing teams they cheated against.
If MLB teams do retaliate and throw beanballs at the Astros it’ll be up to Bob Bertoni whether or not he wants to ban their team names from the PA little league district for unsportsmanlike behavior as well.
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