How MLB has dealt with controversy past vs. present


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Punishments have been handed out to Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros, but many feel like the punishments are too light

By: Matthew Mendives, editor

The Astros have recently been handed a punishment for cheating. MLB has been harsh with punishments in the past, which is why it is disappointing MLB was so light on the Astros punishment.

MLB’s first major controversy was the Black Sox scandal in 1919. Players on the Black Sox purposely threw away the 1919 world series to gain money from a gambler. Eight players were suspended for life for this scandal. until the 2013 biogenesis scandal, where 13 players were suspended for steroid and other drug usage, this was the most players suspended at one time. MLB clearly wasn’t going to deal with gamblers fixing their World Series, so they made sure to lay a hard punishment down to make sure it never happens again. This punishment worked as no player has ever purposely thrown away a series again.

In 1989, baseball had to deal with the Pete Rose scandal. It had come out that Pete Rose had gambled. MLB started a near 3 year investigation. They determined Rose had only gambled for the Reds, not against them. This wasn’t nearly as bad as the Black Sox scandal, but MLB didn’t want gambling in their sport, so they handed Pete Rose a lifetime suspension. Once again MLB showed that they meant business. Since this suspension, no player has gambled at all. So twice in MLB’s history MLB has given a harsh punishments.

Arguably baseball’s biggest controversy is the steroid scandal. The Mitchell report exposed 89 players who had used steroids at some point in their career. After the Mitchell report came out, MLB took action. MLB started doing serious research into steroids. On April 3, 2005 Alex Sanchez became the first player suspended for steroid use. Sanchez was only suspended for 10 games, but now suspensions for first time offenses are 80 games unless you appeal. Steroid use around the league has declined as the suspension has increased. In 2005, 11 suspension were handed out, but in 2019 only four players got suspended.

MLB’s lastest controversy is the Astros cheating scandal. The Astros placed camera’s in centerfield, with these camera’s they sent the footage to a computer in the clubhouse, where someone would figure out which signs were used for each pitch. Once they knew which pitch was coming someone on the team would create different sounds for different pitches, example, bang on the garbage can when a slider is coming. MLB fined the Astros five million dollars, suspended their manager and GM for a year and took away two draft picks. Since this suspension is fresh we don’t know the aftermath of it yet.

When you look at MLB’s history, when they give out hard suspensions the problems tends to lessen if not entirely disappear. Compared to past punishments, the Astros punishment is a joke. Every owner will sacrifice pocket change, 2 draft picks and two guys who are already expandable for a championship. Other teams may try to do this now that they know the punishment isn’t too serious. MLB must correct their mistake for the sake of the game. The Astros owner should lose the team. Also, the ring leaders like Jose Altuve must recieve some form of punishment.