OPINION: What in the world were the Houston Astros thinking?

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OPINION: What in the world were the Houston Astros thinking?

Camera Gate? Trash Can Gate? Whistle Gate? What in the world is happening with the Astros?

For starters, according to a report from the Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Houston Astros have been stealing signs with an outfield camera and alerting their batters to what pitch is coming.

There are multiple videos circulating through Twitter showing the Astros committing these unsportsmanlike acts. In most of the videos, you can hear a loud banging that helps to alert the batters of the pitch that is coming.

The Astros have been using these techniques for the past three seasons, including during their 2017 World Series title run.

Although it must seem like a fairly simple action, it gives the Astros an unfair advantage that has been a catalyst to their success. When hitters are tipped off on the pitch, they can prepare for specific speed and movement, giving them a competitive edge.

The Astros cheated to great effect, finding immense success over the last few years.

During the course of their 2017 postseason run, Houston went 8-1 at home and 3-6 on the road. In comparison, this year’s World Series champion Washington Nationals had a home record of 5-4 while going 8-2 on the road.

The insane splits don’t stop there, though. Certain Astros players had incredible disparities in their home and road numbers throughout the 2017 playoffs.

Veteran catcher Brian McCann struggled on the road during the playoffs, hitting for a .037 average while tallying an OPS (On-Base Percentage plus Slugging Percentage) of .198 in road contests. Meanwhile, at home, McCann hit for a .300 batting average and an OPS of .849.

Another example is superstar Jose Altuve, who was phenomenal at Minute Maid Park. In home games during the 2017 postseason, Altuve hit .472 with an OPS of 1.541. Away from Houston, his average was just .143, coupled with an OPS of .497.

These stats just go to show how the Astros’ blatant sign stealing likely played a critical role in the success of both star and role players. It’s not unusual for a home environment to be more hitter-friendly, but this is more than a case of home cooking.

If the MLB wants to stop this kind of cheating from happening again, then the league must hand down some harsh penalties to the Astros organization. They must set a standard for this kind of cheating to ensure that it is not repeated.

First off, MLB should strip Houston’s 2017 World Series title. Fines and lost draft picks could also factor into the sanctions.

The world is watching, MLB. The league’s handling of this debacle must be swift and definitive.

You’ve lost my respect, Trashtros.