MLB’s Culture of Cheating



Photo Creds: Gary Turner from CreativeCommons

Olivia Wotherspoon, OwlFeed Sports Editor

All throughout the history of sports, people have cheated to get a step ahead and perform better than others. In baseball history there has been more cheating and scandals than in any other sport, such as the Astros recent stealing signs, usage of pine tar, performance-enhancing drugs, and gambling problems. 

A cheating culture has formed in the game where it’s become the standard that people do things not in accordance with the rules. An agreement that if you’re not cheating then you’re not trying has formed and it’s tearing the game apart. It’s hard to now know who is and who is not playing a fair game. 

This trend of unfaithfulness to the rules of the games shows that players and coaches are more interested in the money and fame rather than playing the game right. Baseball has been around for a long time and since the start, this trend of cheating has been a part of the game. It’s just becoming even more apparent now. 

The MLB first was established in 1869 and by 1919 there was already arguably the biggest scandal that baseball had ever seen. The Chicago Black Sox purposely threw the World Series and let the Cincinnati Reds win, in exchange for money from gamblers. The players believed that they weren’t getting paid enough so they sorted out a deal with gamblers in order to pocket some extra cash. Keep in mind the players first started this deal, not the gamblers. 

After the scandal came to light, there was a fake trial for show put on against the players, who suddenly somehow got out of police custody. There were also missing confessions and the owners of the MLB at the time put in efforts to make sure nobody knew the games were predetermined. 

Although some players did face consequences for their role in the scandal, there was no punishment for those who knew about it and stayed quiet nor were there any repercussions for those who took money offered to them. All in which made it seem acceptable to be involved in scandals as long as you weren’t in the heart of it.

A more recent scandal was the Houston Astros stealing signs which led them to beating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series. They used cameras to watch the catcher’s signs and were able to communicate with the base runners by beating a trash can. Seems simple enough. This scandal went on for many years but it’s hard to tell if other teams were also using this tactic or ones like it. The Astros just got caught first. 

The manager and general manager were fired and the Astros were fined $5 million dollars for the scandal, but again there was no punishment for the players which set an example that it was acceptable as long as you weren’t in the heart of it. The respect for the game is not being upheld because there have been numerous scandals throughout time that show the rules and regulations are not a priority for some. 

After talking to an anonymous source who works on the MLB security staff, they said “There is definitely evidence that there’s cheating through all of baseball but no investigations have started.”

There is clear evidence that cheating is taking place and there is probably no way to stop it from happening across the league but taking the right steps once a scandal has risen to the surface is important to show players, teams and everyone involved that it’s not okay to be bending the rules. 

Usage of steroids, pine tar, and other things for an advantage is used so frequently that there is little to no enforcement unless it’s obvious. Since there has been a lack of discipline or consequences for acting against the rules, it’s becoming accepted and the game is being transformed into something that it’s not. 

The game of baseball is slowly losing its class and respect because of this cheating culture the game has slowly developed. The game lost its integrity after players and coaches allowed wrongful behaviors to get ahead in the game, instead of playing a clean game. There is no way to ensure that everyone in the league is playing by the rules but there must be more repercussions for those scandals that are brought to light if the game of baseball wants to remain as a gentleman’s sport.