Baseball is a romantic game. America likes itself again as soon as it watches the final games in late October, the World Series; and America is looking forward to seeing itself as soon as spring training begins in Florida’s warmth in March, that casual series of prep games in tiny stadiums where loving fans even get close to the New York Yankees’s multimillionaires.
Because baseball is America's family summer game, and spring training is the promise that will be honored by the World Series at the end of summer. No matter what time of year, no matter in which stadium in the USA: In the middle of the seventh inning, everyone sings Take me out to the ball game . It's like baseball like so many old, precious things in this world: always been there, always there, indestructible - apparently.
Because then, suddenly, everything is different.
In the home of baseball, there is a scam affair that goes as deep as the bribery scandal in the Bundesliga, in the early 1970s, and maybe even deeper:
The Houston Astros were the best baseball team of the decade, 2017 champions and also in the final this year - but they were liars. The whole beautiful story they told is not true, and what does that say about this game, this country, its professional sport?
The way the Astros cheated is as modern as it is archaic. At their home games, they had a camera record the signals with which the opposing catcher and the opposing pitcher exchanged information about the next throw: the catcher signals possible throws with his fingers, the thrower nods briefly or shakes the minimalist one Head. The camera now forwarded the signals to the bank ( dug out ) of the Astros, where a team member hit a garbage can with great force or not: So the hitter (hitter) of the Astros knew in advance what was coming.
The scam targets the game's central secret. The decisive argument in baseball is precisely that between the pitcher and the bat. The thrower has an arsenal of around eight different throws at his disposal, the difference between fast ball , as hard as possible (around 160 km / h) and curve ball , which means flight curves that are difficult to calculate, is essential. The batsman must fix the opposing thrower and his twitching or finger position and guess which throw will come - the opposing catcher who gives the signals is in the back of the racket. The use of cameras is of course forbidden, especially the use of modern technology during the game.
This scandal, which slowly came to light through indiscreet gamblers, shook the USA, from coast to coast. The Astros had to fire their general manager Jeff Luhnow and their head coach AJ Hinch, the two authors of their heroic lie story. The Boston Red Sox had to fire their head coach Alex Cora, even though he won the World Series in 2018 - Cora had previously been an assistant and key figure in fraud in Houston, which now mists the Red Sox championship the following year. Even the New York Mets had to fire their newly hired head coach Carlos Beltrán, who played for the Astros in Houston for the years at stake and was also a key figure.
Everywhere, all over America, there are people affected: The Los Angeles Dodgers, talented and filigree built over many years, first lost to the Astros and then to the Red Sox the World Series (2017 and 2018) and were always misled sign even more expensive contracts. Because of the enemy's lies? The city of Los Angeles wants to fight the two titles in court.