The fallout from the Astros sign-stealing scandal has been massive, and we are only four days into it. One general manager and three MLB managers have been fired, with the latest axe falling on Carlos Beltran, who hasn’t even managed a game yet with the Mets. But things have gotten even more bizarre, or shall we say ... buzzer.
The Mets say they “mutually parted ways” with Beltran, just like on Tuesday when the Red Sox tried the same gutless language in dismissing Alex Cora. Don’t buy it. Both Beltran (a player in 2017 with the Astros) and Cora (Houston’s bench coach that year) were fired this week by their respective, now old, teams.
On one hand, every single person mentioned in MLB’s report to have culpability for the Astros’ electronic sign stealing is now out of baseball. But the scandal hardly seems contained. If anything, things are getting weirder.
First there were rumors of a possible Beltran burner Twitter account, one using his middle name (Ivan) and uniform number (15) as a handle, denying that Beltran’s future with the Mets was in doubt.
Carlos Beltran made a burner account to defend himself online shouts to a buddy of mine for pointing this out. Beltrans number was 15, and his middle name is Ivan. Also look at the joined twitter date as well as who he’s following. pic.twitter.com/YKVdvFArOq— The Guy Who Sits Next To RFWill (@EastBay_Sports) January 15, 2020
That account was odd, but not necessarily credible, and not really relevant to the overall cheating scandal.
But another Twitter account is, one claiming to be Beltran’s niece. That account tweeted Wednesday night that Beltran would step down as manager, well before that happened on Thursday morning. Then things got even more bizarre after the firing.
Beltran's niece tweeting about the buzzers, which matches up with what Ive been told from about 5 different parties. pic.twitter.com/zla70bW0Wu— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) January 16, 2020
Buzzers, you say?
On Jose Altuve?
After hitting his pennant-winning walk-off home run in Game 6 of the ALCS, Altuve implored teammates not to tear off his jersey. He told Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, “I’m too shy. Last time I did that, I got in trouble with my wife.” Which, to a conspiracy theorist, is exactly what someone wearing a buzzer underneath their jersey would say.
Allegedly, of course.
MLB, for the record, said they investigated this.
from MLB with so much coming out publicly about Altuve HR to end ALCS and other incidents: "MLB explored wearable devices during the investigation but found no evidence to substantiate it.” That investigation, MLB said, includes 2019.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 16, 2020
So yes, it doesn’t mean much when an unverified account starts spewing rumors they claim to be true. Especially when the Beltran family told Marly Rivera of ESPN that account was not affiliated with their family in any way. And did I mention that account has already been deleted? And also (LOL)...
Carlos Beltran’s niece ain’t his niece you hooligans. That’s a player.— Gary Sheffield Jr. (@GarysheffieldJr) January 16, 2020
I don’t blame you if you’ve checked out. We’ve reached Ferris Bueller territory here, with a best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend who heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw the Astros use buzzers at 31 Flavors last night.
[EXTREME STEPHEN A. VOICE] However ...
Rumors of the Astros using buzzers is not new. Joel Sherman of the New York Post brought up the notion in November:
In recent days I have had scouts and executives talk to me about a variety of methods they think have been or could be employed, such as a realistic-looking electronic bandage placed on a player’s body that buzzes in real time to signal what is coming — one buzz for a fastball, for example — if the surveillance determines what type of pitching is coming. One person I spoke to has ties to the Astros and said he already had spoken to MLB’s investigators.
Jimmy O’Brien, better known as Jomboy on Twitter, is the sleuth who found scads of videos from Astros games from 2017 in which their trash-can-banging scheme was clearly audible, as well as shots of the video monitor used in stealing and relaying the signs just outside the dugout (from MLB’s official World Series video, no less). O’Brien tweeted that he also heard from “5 different parties” about the Astros’ use of buzzers.
Trevor Bauer, current major league pitcher, says he’s heard the same from “multiple parties.” Then again, Bauer is an opponent and has been a long-time critic of the Astros’ methods, so perhaps there’s an axe to grind there.
Another Astros opponent, Mike Clevinger of the Indians, had words.
They shouldn’t feel comfortable looking at any of us in the eye let alone on the field and any other MLB player feel different, they can get it too✌️— ❂ Mike ℕ ℍ ℕ Clevinger ❂ (@Mike_Anthony13) January 16, 2020
I hope they make y’all the Montreal Expos, BB❄️❄️❄️— ❂ Mike ℕ ℍ ℕ Clevinger ❂ (@Mike_Anthony13) January 16, 2020
This is where things get fun, when the tea starts to get spilled.
We are at this chaotic moment in baseball history because of MLB’s sloth-like pace in cleaning up the electronic sign stealing in the first place. They didn’t fully investigate the Astros until another player, Mike Fiers, a pitcher on the 2017 Astros, went on record about the sign-stealing to The Athletic in November.
No players from the 2017 Astros were disciplined by MLB, though Beltran was named in the investigation, and suffered the consequences with his departure as Mets manager. That fact may have rankled some other players.
Over the last two months, some members of the Astros reached out to friends with other teams to assure them they didn't cheat to win. In wake of the Commissioner's Report, some of those friendships are fractured. Lots of anger.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) January 15, 2020
It took players speaking out in the first place to bring this to light. Until more actual information is known, we can just sit here and wonder what the hell was on Josh Reddick’s upper left chest.
I can’t even keep up with the stupid— Jett Reddick (@JettReddick) January 16, 2020
It might be nothing, or just a remnant from a clubhouse celebration. But rumors abuzz.