Photo illustration by Jake Weir/B&W Staff

Edit desk: Lessons to take away from the Houston Astros


Andrew Isaacson

Growing up as an athlete, I was taught to always follow the rules and give it my all, even if the outcome doesn’t go my way. 

Athletes and teams inspire me to be a better person and work harder to accomplish my goals and dreams. Every time I witness a team win a championship whether it’s my favorite team or not I see all the dedication and commitment that went into their journey through their celebrations. It inspires me and others to get to “the top of the mountain,” in whichever career path one chooses. 

Watching the runner-up fall short of its primary goal gives me a terrible feeling, especially after all of the work it took them to be in its position. But the worst feeling in the world is when a team loses and it later finds out that its opponent had a significant advantage over them by breaking the rules. 

When I witnessed Jose Altuve hit the walk-off home run that eliminated the Yankees from the playoffs last fall, I was disappointed to see my team lose, but I was proud of the fight that they put up. I had similar feelings in 2017 when they lost in seven games to the Astros. It was a hard-fought series that could have gone in either direction, with both teams giving it their all. 

When I saw Altuve tell his teammates not to tear off his jersey during the celebration, I didn’t think it was a big deal. However, it did not occur to me that his suspicious behavior was part of one of the biggest sports scandals of all time. 

It was gut-wrenching to me and baseball fans all over the world finding out that the Houston Astros stole signs from other teams by banging on trash cans and using technology beginning in the 2017 season and continuing into 2019. 

The scandal caused an uproar from countless MLB players and athletes from other sports. 

Cody Bellinger, who was on the Dodgers team that lost to the Astros in the World Series back in 2017, said, “Everyone knows they stole a ring from us.” 

Aaron Judge, who was a member of both Yankees teams that lost to Houston in 2017 and 2019, believes that they didn’t earn their 2017 World Series win. 

“I just don’t think it holds any value with me. You cheated and you didn’t earn it,” Judge said.

In any situation, whether it’s on the field or in class, I always want to win and get the highest grade possible. But the end result doesn’t always equal my expectations. 

Last fall, I studied all week for a final exam in a class that was challenging for me. I left the exam feeling confident that I received the grade I needed, only to find out days later that I didn’t get the grade in the class required to move forward with a potential minor. 

The more I reflected about the outcome of the exam, the more I realized I did everything I could to prepare. After witnessing all the fury and heat that the Astros are getting, it’s better to receive an honest grade or outcome than cheat your way to a 100 percent on an exam, or championship, and get condemned for it. 

Even though the Astros won the World Series in 2017, everybody is going to forget about their journey and the talented team that they brought onto the field, night in and night out. Everybody is going to forget that they were a team that endured six straight losing seasons three where they lost over 100 games to get to where they were. Nobody is going to praise the players for winning prestigious awards for their individual performance. 

The Houston Astros will be remembered as the team that broke the rules of “America’s Pastime” to accomplish their ultimate goal. The legacies of the players and managers will be tarnished, and they will be viewed as criminals instead of role models for aspiring baseball players. 

Sports should be a celebration of team success and talent. Unfortunately, that was not displayed in the Astros’ World Series runs from 2017-2019. 

That is why it’s better to lose with integrity and finish in last place than to cheat your way to the top of the world.

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  1. Pingback: Edit desk: Lessons from the Houston Astros – The Brown and White | Philanthropy Media Network

  2. Robert F Davenport Jr on

    I agree with your thinking but there are many who will cheat for an advantage and rationalize why it is OK. One rationalization is that if you can commit an infraction without getting caught it is OK. Another is if there is no rule against an action it is OK. Another point to consider in the Astro’s activities is that sometimes there is no set penalty for breaking a rule. The Astro’s actions and what has followed reflect common current attitudes and actions in politics and life in general.

    Now we are seeing what happens when justice is ignored as Astro players become targets for thrown baseballs. What other actions will be taken as fans and players get creative with their displeasure? The arrogance of the Astro’s and the incompetence of the Commissioner are deserving of some sort of reaction.

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