Do The Houston Astros Deserve Forgiveness?



In 2017-18, the Astros used a system of cheating built around trash cans. Image provided by Canva.

This year we watched an incredible run by possibly the most unpopular baseball team in the modern era. Despite being booed, laughed at, and harassed everywhere they went over the last three seasons, they made a run in the playoffs this year that ended two games short of eternal glory. The main victims of this abuse were the starting infielders; Shortstop Carlos Correa, third baseman Alex Bregman, first baseman Yuli Gurriel, and “The face of the scandal” second baseman Jose Altuve. But do they really deserve all this hate? What did they do that was so wrong? When is America going to forgive them?

In the 2017-18 regular season, and in the 2017 playoffs, the Houston Astros were using a system of cameras hidden in their ballpark to capture and decode the signs of the opposing catcher. Players in the dugout would then relay signs by banging trash cans every time they picked up the sign for a fastball using their sign-stealing-system. This gave the Houston batters the unfair advantage of knowing what pitch was about to be thrown. The entire Houston lineup participated in this method of cheating, except for one person.

From 2011-2019, Jose Altuve was one of the most popular players in the MLB. Despite only standing 5’6 and weighing 160 pounds, Altuve popped exactly 100 home runs, racked up over 500 RBIs, and had a batting average of .308 during that period. In 2017 he won the MVP and the Hank Aaron Award (best hitter in the American League). He was a Silver Slugger (best hitter at a position) recipient and made the all-star team every season from 2014-18, according to But his specialty was getting on base and stealing, as he led the league three times in batting average, four times in hits, and twice in bases stolen. Life was Great. But in 2020, Jose Altuve became the single most hated player in baseball. He was booed at every away game. He was the laughing stock of the MLB. He was an outcast to the fans and kids who had once wanted to be just like him. It was reflected in the field and at the plate when he had the worst season of his career. All for something he didn’t even do.

Carlos Correa publicly admitted his guilt in the cheating scandal, but stated that Altuve had refused to cheat. The only reason Jose ever came under scrutiny was when he hit a suspicious homerun in the 2017 playoffs. At the time, the trash can banging had stopped, but fans still believed the Astros were cheating, this time through electronic buzzers disguised to look like band-aids. These claims were proven false, but at the time they were believed true. Altuve hit a walk-off home run off of Aroldis Chapman of the Yankees that sent Houston to the World Series. As he rounded third base, Altuve pleaded with teammates to not remove his shirt in celebration, and appeared to say “NO, I got a piece on!” However what he really said was “No camisa!” which is Spanish for shirt.

In an interview after the game, a reporter asked Altuve about his reluctance to remove his shirt. He responded “Last time they did that, I got in trouble with my wife!” However his motive for staying fully clothed would change later, when he as well as Correa both claimed that he had an unfinished tattoo that he was embarrassed of. This sudden shift in the story would only add to the suspicion surrounding Altuve and his team. However Altuve did have an unfinished tattoo, and there is no sufficient evidence to show that he ever participated in the plot to fraudelate the season. So why have fans still not forgiven Altuve? Why is he still “The face of the scandal?”

I interviewed a baseball youtuber you might know as Baseball Doesn’t Exist. He has nearly three-hundred-thousand subscribers on youtube, and nineteen videos with over one-million views. During a video about Altuve’s involvement (or lack thereof) in the scandal, he entitles the second baseman ‘The face of the scandal.’ I asked him to explain that title: “Altuve became the face of the scandal because he was the face of the Astros offense at the time. He won MVP the year the cheating occurred and was beloved by pretty much everybody. His success was inspiring and impressive, so when people found out he was involved in a cheating scandal they felt betrayed… even though evidence has since come out that shows he really didn’t use the system.”

And there you have it. Altuve did NOT cheat. So therefore, even if you believe that what the Astros did is wrong, and that all the hate they have received is warranted, and that they should be banned from the MLB, or stripped of their World Series title, or sent to prison for the rest of their lives. NO ONE HAS ANY REASON TO HATE JOSE ALTUVE! But will he ever be completely forgiven? I asked Mr. Doesn’t Exist: “As time goes on more and more people will realize the full story and not cast him as some big bad immoral cheater. People will always say that he was guilty by association or just think he cheated as much as anybody else. Those people are misinformed and if put in the same position as Altuve would probably use the system to cheat. Athletes have done much worse and been forgiven… as time goes on they’ll be less emotional about these losses and probably forgive Altuve.”