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The Houston Astros sign stealing scandal resulted from a series of rule violations by members of the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball, who usedThe Houston Astros sign stealing scandal resulted from a series of rule violations by members of the Houston Astros of Major League Baseball, who used technology to steal signs of opposing teams during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. For years, some individuals on other teams had suspected the Astros of stealing signs, but there was no public reporting on the subject until November 2019, when reporters Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich at The Athletic published an article detailing the team's activities. Mike Fiers, a pitcher who played for the Astros in 2017, told The Athletic that the organization used a video camera in the center field seats to film the opposing catcher's signals to the pitcher regarding the next pitch. Astros players or team staffers watching the live camera feed behind the dugout used various audio cues, such as banging on a trash can, to signal to the batter what type of pitch was coming next. MLB investigated the allegations and confirmed in January 2020 that the Astros illegally used a camera system to steal signs during the 2017 regular season and postseason, during which they won the World Series, as well as in part of the 2018 season. MLB found no evidence of illicit sign stealing in the 2019 season, in which the Astros advanced to the World Series, but lost in seven games to the Washington Nationals. As a result, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and field manager A. J. Hinch were suspended for the entire 2020 season for failing to prevent the rule violations. The Astros were fined the maximum allowable $5 million and forfeited their first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts. No players were punished because they had been given immunity by MLB in exchange for their cooperation. The Astros subsequently fired both Luhnow and Hinch on the day their suspensions were announced. MLB's investigation also determined that Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora helped mastermind the Astros' sign stealing while serving as Hinch's bench coach in 2017. The Red Sox and Cora mutually parted ways the following day and MLB suspended him through the 2020 postseason, although the Red Sox rehired Cora after his suspension ended. Carlos Beltrán was the only Astros player from 2017 who was specifically named in the report; he had been hired to manage the New York Mets in November 2019 but parted ways with the team after the results of MLB's investigation were announced. The sanctions against the Astros were the most severe that MLB has ever issued against a member club, and are among the most severe sanctions for in-game misconduct in baseball history. A Wall Street Journal article published a few weeks after the MLB report described previously unknown details about the sign stealing operation and reported that it originated during the 2016 season, a broader scope than reported by MLB. After the scandal broke, players on the 2017 Astros apologized to varying degrees. The team's actions were heavily criticized by players on other MLB teams. The scandal dominated the 2019–2020 offseason and the start of 2020 spring training. The scandal also led to lawsuits against the Astros and MLB.
The St. Louis Cardinals are an American professional baseball team based in St. Louis. The Cardinals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a memberThe St. Louis Cardinals are an American professional baseball team based in St. Louis. The Cardinals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. Since the 2006 season, the Cardinals have played their home games at Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis. One of the nation's oldest and most successful professional baseball clubs, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, the most of any NL team and second in MLB only to the New York Yankees. The team has won 19 National League pennants, third-most of any team. St. Louis has also won 14 division titles in the East and Central divisions. In 1881, entrepreneur Chris von der Ahe purchased the Brown Stockings barnstorming club, renamed it the St. Louis Browns, and made it a charter member of the American Association baseball league. The team won four league championships, qualifying them to play in the era's professional baseball championship series, a forerunner of the modern World Series. In two of these championships, the Browns met the Chicago White Stockings, now the Chicago Cubs launching the enduring Cardinals–Cubs rivalry. In 1892, the Browns – also called the Perfectos – joined the National League. In 1900, the team was renamed the Cardinals. (Two years later, an unrelated St. Louis Browns team joined the American League.) Notable Cardinals achievements include manager/owner Branch Rickey's invention of the farm system, Rogers Hornsby's two batting Triple Crowns, Dizzy Dean's 30-win season in 1934, Stan Musial's 17 MLB and 29 NL records, Bob Gibson's 1.12 earned run average (ERA) in 1968, Whitey Herzog's Whiteyball, Mark McGwire's single-season home run record in 1998, and the 2011 championship team's unprecedented comebacks. The Cardinals have won 105 or more games in four seasons and won 100 or more nine times. Cardinals players have won 20 league MVPs, four batting Triple Crowns, and three Cy Young Awards. Baseball Hall of Fame inductees include Lou Brock, Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson, Whitey Herzog, Rogers Hornsby, Joe Medwick, Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter, Branch Rickey, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, Ted Simmons, and Bruce Sutter. In 2018, Forbes valued the Cardinals at $1.9 billion, 7th-highest among MLB clubs and far more than the $147 million paid in 1995 by owner William DeWitt, Jr.'s investment group. In 2017, the team took in revenue of $319 million on an operating income of $40.0 million. John Mozeliak is the President of Baseball Operations, Mike Girsch is the general manager and Oliver Marmol is the manager. The Cardinals are renowned for their strong fan support: despite being in one of the sport's mid-level markets, they routinely see attendances among the league's highest, and are consistently among the top three in MLB in local television ratings.Through 2021, the Cardinals' all-time win-loss record is 11,038–10,163 (.521).