Baseball rocked by cheating scandal as Astros GM, manager suspended

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The MLB has just handed down an apocalyptic punishment to the Houston Astros' general manager and manager for their role in the team's sign-stealing scandal: A full-year suspension, plus the league maximum $5 million fine and the loss of first- and second-round draft picks.

The most notable name missing from this doozy of a punishment, however, is Red Sox manager and former Astros bench coach Alex Cora. Manfred said Cora developed the sign-stealing system used by the Astros. The Red Sox are under investigation for sign-stealing in Cora's first season as manager in 2018, when Boston won the World Series.

A former Houston player, pitcher Mike Fiers, prompted the investigation after telling The Athletic the team had used cameras to steal signs from opponents.

Not only are Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch suspended for the upcoming Major League Baseball season as part of their punishment for the Houston Astros' cheating scandal, but the two have also lost their jobs. MLB's investigation found that Crane was unaware of the sign-stealing activities by his team.

Astros manager AJ Hinch was both suspended and fired Monday.

Current New York Mets manager Carlos Beltrán, then a player with the Astros, was among the group involved.

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Why players weren't punished ■ The commissioner says in the report that he will not discipline individual players because of his September 2017 decision to "hold a Club's General Manager and Field Manager accountable for misconduct of this kind". "The conduct described herein has caused fans, players, executives at other MLB Clubs, and members of the media to raise questions about the integrity of games in which the Astros participated". The Astros used it to decode signs.

■ Manfred said that because Cora was "an active participant in the scheme" and that Hinch was aware, players may have thought the behavior was being encouraged.

Cora began calling the replay room for the information early in the season. Players would determine a sign and send a message to the hitter by banging on a trash can. "Generally, one or two bangs corresponded to certain off-speed pitches, while no bang corresponded to a fastball". There was no evidence signs were stolen during the 2018 playoffs.

Former assistant GM Brandon Taubman, who made insensitive remarks to women reporters after the ALCS, was suspended for one year.

Taubman can apply to Manfred for reinstatement after the World Series, and any future violations of Major League Rules would lead to a lifetime ban.