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Astros Crawfish Potluck: February 8th, 2020

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Divisional Series - Tampa Bay Rays v Houston Astros - Game Two Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

So instead of getting what I was hoping would be a bit of closure to send off of the whole cheating scandal yesterday, things somehow got worse. First there was an article in the Wall Street Journal about Luhnow’s “Department of the Dark Arts,” or whatever he called it, that created a whole real time sign-stealing system from the ground up. Then, the Hinch interview disappointed when he gave a weak non-denial when asked about buzzers in 2019. Oh, and let’s go ahead and throw in the fact that Boston is expected to get a light punishment for continuing to cheat in 2018, which keeps the spotlight directly on the Astros.

Now, personally, I don’t think the WSJ article is as much of a revelation as people are making it out to be. There were already reports that teams were working to be able to decipher signs in real time. There’s apparently an app that can do that from your phone. A system like that can also have uses for studying opponents after the game, so just developing one isn’t a crime in and of itself. On top of that. it’s not some grand revelation that the Astros had to have some kind of technological help to decipher signs in-game. That Luhnow was in on it from the beginning in spite of his denial doesn’t really shake me either, because if you didn’t already think he was a scumbag then you haven’t been paying attention.

The non-denial on the buzzers was not great though. Honestly, the idea that the team wasn’t cheating in 2019 has been something of a lifeline for me. AJ was pretty long winded in most of his responses and didn’t really give a whole lot of straight answers, so you could still take his answer as something of a denial, but man I wish he could have just flat out said that they didn’t use them. He left too much open there for people to draw their own conclusions, and boy are they being drawn.

As for the Sox getting off light, that’s not really surprising either. The whole crux of what’s pissing people off is the fact that the Astros were relaying signs in real time. Using video to decipher pitch signals during the game but not relaying them directly to the batter just doesn’t hold the same amount of water. From the beginning this whole thing has been pretty much about PR for the league, and if people aren’t PO’d then MLB isn’t going to do anything. From that viewpoint it’s pretty clear that the league wants the heat to stay on the Astros, so good luck getting them to punish someone else without a bunch of clear cut instances of cheating a la banging trash cans.

Oof, that turned out to be longer than I thought. Well, let’s get to the potluck. As per usual, feel free to bring any discussion topics to the comments section. I’ll get us going with three questions:

  1. Will Luhnow or Hinch ever work in baseball again?
  2. What are you looking forward to in the 2020 season?
  3. I need a pick-me-up after yesterday, what’s your favorite Astros memory?