SIGN-STEALING

Here's why Dodgers fans should be careful about throwing stones

Composite photo by Brandon Strange

Earlier this week after the Astros were punished by MLB for sign-stealing, Dodgers fans were losing their minds about being cheated out of a World Series in 2017. A life-long Dodgers fan, Jose Lara, says he is speaking with an attorney about suing MLB for the amount of money he spent going to Game 7 of the World Series in 2017. It's hard to imagine he has any chance of winning his case, but that's not the point.

It seems nobody remembers that the Dodgers were accused of stealing signs back in May of 2019. The Mets and the Brewers have both accused the Dodgers. I'm going to stick to the accusations from the Brewers, but you can read about the Mets concerns with the Dodgers here. According to The Athletic's Robert Murray, the Brewers were suspicious the Dodgers were using cameras to steal signs with help from the video department. Sound familiar? "They use video people to get sequences," a Brewers source told The Athletic about the Dodgers in October of 2018.

And let's not forget the Red Sox claiming they caught Dodgers 3rd baseman Manny Machado relaying signs from 2nd base in the 2018 World Series. It's clear from MLB's investigation of the Astros that Alex Cora would definitely know what to look for when it comes to stealing signs.

The point is, there is a ton of heat on the Astros right now and deservedly so, but it seems like MLB is just starting to figure out that a lot of teams have been doing this as recently as last year. They need to look into all these reports, the teams involved, and make sure they punish everyone equally. You can't just punish the first team that got caught and let everyone else get away with it. If you're truly going to clean up baseball, you have to hold everyone accountable.

Hopefully a team like the Dodgers gets exposed sooner than later, so the Astros are finally out of the spotlight.

Let's go MLB, get to it!

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It more of the same from the Houston Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Sunday afternoon provided a high-res snapshot of the state of Houston sports. The Astros, already assured of the best record in the American League, played a game they didn’t need to win. The Astros won, ho-hum, their 104th win of the season.

Meanwhile, eight miles away, the Texans, mired in last place with fan support dwindling, played a game they really needed to win. The Texans lost 34-24 to the Los Angeles Chargers in front of (giggle) 69,071 fans at NRG Stadium. The Texans really ought to stop saying the stands are packed. Every time a team punts, and cameras follow the ball skyward, there are thousands of empty seats on display. I know the NFL methodology for determining attendance, (total tickets sold, no-shows don’t count) but it just looks silly when the Texans announce 69,000 fans.

The Texans came close as usual before sputtering to another defeat. The Texans now stand at 0-3-1, the only winless team in the NFL. It’s the second time in three years they’ve started a season without a victory after four games. It’s telling to note that not one of the Texans opponents has a winning record for 2022.

In other words, the Texans have played four games they shoulda/coulda won. Shouda against the Colts, Broncos and Bears, and coulda against the Chargers.

Should/coulda four wins. Instead, none.

That’s the Texans. They’re in every game but can’t close the deal. Yeah, yeah, on Monday we hear, “the Texans are playing hard for coach Lovie Smith” and “they’re competitive” and “they’re a young team.” These are NFL equivalents of a participation trophy.

Sunday’s loss to the Chargers at NRG Stadium was straight out of the Texans playbook. Fall behind, make it interesting, lose. The Texans stuck to their script, timid play calling, momentum-crushing penalties (nine for 67 yards), self-inflicted drops, lackluster quarterbacking and Rex Burkhead on the field for crunch time. After one play where a Texan player was called for holding, the announcer said, “and he did a poor job of holding.”

Statuesque quarterback David Mills keeps saying “we’re in a good spot” and “we’re improving.” Statuesque as in he doesn’t move – or barely moves to avoid sacks. Sunday saw his first touchdown pass to a wide receiver. He’s now thrown four interceptions in the past two games. Let’s go to the tote board: 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 4 fumbles, 11 sacks, qbr rating 28.5 – good for 28th in the league.

A bright spot, sort of. This was the first week the Texans didn’t cover the spread. They’re now 1-2-1 against Vegas oddsmakers, meaning you’ve won money if you took the Texans all four weeks. They head to Jacksonville next as early 6.5-point underdogs.

Meanwhile, Alabama’s brilliant quarterback Bryce Young, who will be available for the Texans when they draft first in 2023 (as Paul Heyman says, that’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler), suffered a shoulder injury last Saturday. The Texans need to take out a Lloyds of London insurance policy on Young.

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