How the Astros’ alledged cheating controversy may affect the Red Sox
By Max Bozicas
The Houston Astros have staff members around the majors who were involved in their 2017 World Series run. A couple of them are now on the Boston Red Sox.
If you’re a Boston Red Sox fan who has been berating and poking fun at the Houston Astros for their controversy involving the use of technology to steal signs en route to a World Series win in 2017, you might wanna pump the brakes for a minute.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora was on that staff, as was bullpen coach Craig Bjornson. It is anticipated that MLB is going to interview them both. While that isn’t such a big deal in and of itself, the real worry is the fact that they are probably going to take a hard look at the 2018 Red Sox.
Cora left the Astros for the Red Sox after 2017 and lead Boston to a dominant 108-win season and a World Series title. How can they not when that team cruised to a championship practically uncontested lead by a manager who was part of a team that allegedly cheated the previous year? It’s a tough situation to be linked to, but the organization doesn’t really have a say in the matter.
The Red Sox definitely aren’t in the clear yet thanks to Cora’s association with the Astros during their scandalous season. It’s not out of the question that Cora may have used similar tactics during Boston’s playoff run last year as well. I’d like to think that Cora would know better than to do that considering the obvious risk that comes with it. Regardless, we can’t just turn a blind eye to the possibility of it.
Let’s be honest, the vast majority of sports fans want to win at all costs. I’m not convinced that most Sox fans would care too much either way about how a championship is obtained. With that said, it definitely feels better to do it the right way, and it would be unfortunate to have a title largely considered being tainted. This is a scenario that does exist for now.
I’ll do my best to reassure you here. The odds that Cora did anything out of the ordinary with the Red Sox in 2018 are not very strong. In 2017, The Astros only stole signs electronically at home games. Of the Red Sox 108 regular-season wins in 2018, they won 57 of those games at home and 51 on the road. Not a huge difference. They also ranked top 10 as a team in just about every batting category on the road. They absolutely dominated on the road in the playoffs, losing just one game away from home (World Series Game 3.)
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It’s pretty likely that the 2018 Red Sox were just a really, really good baseball team that didn’t need to cheat. However, if MLB does find anything from them that broke the rules it could mean big trouble for the organization. There’s no actual confirmation on what punishment will be handed down to the Astros, but the possibilities such as suspension and loss of draft picks would be something that Cora and the Red Sox would be facing as well.
Realistically, Cora will either come out unscathed or have to pay a fine for his involvement in Houston. If he is given any form of discipline, it’s a rough PR hit for Boston at the very least. The team would be required to at least put out a cookie-cutter statement about how they don’t condone that type of behavior. After that, they can move on.
Unless there is damning evidence that Cora was doing anything close to what the Astros did while he’s been a member of the Red Sox, nothing else should come of the investigation. It wouldn’t make sense to penalize the 2020 Red Sox for something that the 2017 Astros did, but until further notice Boston is not quite above suspicion.