In April 2020, while most of us confine ourselves as a first act of defense to combat the pandemic, and baseball was reduced to the monotony of watching replayed games on television, Major League Baseball’s central office concluded in its investigation that Boston Red Sox who competed in the 2018 campaign benefited from help from technology to steal signals from their rivals, a violation of MLB regulations.
With the resolution of Commissioner Rob Manfred, The Red Sox joined the 2017 Houston Astros as the two organizations guilty of cheating in the modern era.
The news went below the national interest, among other things, due to the emergency that the world was experiencing in the face of an unknown virus. Along with this, the first hit, which is always the one that hurts the most, was received by the Astros a year before., when the word Covid did not exist in the vocabulary of fans.
In both sentences, Manfred decided not to punish any player. With Boston he limited himself to sanctioning JT Watkin, operator of the team’s video room, with one year without pay. With Astros the repercussions escalated much higher. The manager AJ Hitch and general manager Jeff Luhow, were unwelcome for at least a year from the major league fields. Luhnow remains unemployed so far and Hitch is the helmsman of the Detroit Tigers.
A few months later and with the pandemic still active, baseball puts the names of Red Sox and Astros on the same sheet. This is not another scam investigation, but to celebrate the 2021 American League Championship Series.
There are few things that unite Boston and Houston as cities are several hundred miles apart. In the historic rivalry within the postseason they have met twice: the 2018 Championship Series won by the Red Sox in five games and the 2017 Division Series won by the Astros in four games.
In both commitments, the Puerto Rican Alex Cora was on the winning side.
Cora, Boston’s current manager, is another bridge that joins his ninth with Houston. During the Astros’ championship season (cheating), he served as a bench coach. He was one of the main characters in the sign stealing scheme. A year later, when the scandal was not yet uncovered, he led the Red Sox to the 2018 World Series title. At the end of the 2019 campaign he left Boston and returned in 2021 after the suspension imposed by the commissioner.
In his second chance as Boston’s manager, Cora apologized for cheating in baseball and announced that her team would fight for the championship when many argued that the organization was entering a period of reconstruction.
To the chagrin of many around baseball, the Astros and the Red Sox continue to remain two winning franchises. Both are four games away from returning to the biggest stage in the major leagues.
This Friday at 8:07 p.m. ET, the Playball of a rivalry is sung that will give a lot of narrative for the history of baseball.
As in 2018 when they won the World Series, this season the Red Sox eliminated their eternal rivals New York Yankees and now face the Astros in the American League Championship Series. Will history repeat itself?