The Houston Astros pulled off an impressive win in the recent World Series, taking four of six games against the overachieving Philadelphia Phillies. Still experiencing blowback from the cheating scandal that will forever be linked to the Astros’ 2017 World Series win, they took this series without any hint of controversy.
You may recall that the 2017 cheating involved stealing signs and then banging on trashcans to communicate with Astros batters whenever an off-speed ball was going to be pitched. That was definitely some low-tech cheating methodology, and it did not happen this year. But perhaps the Astros learned from that experience and strived to elevate the process.
Consider that Houston has one particularly hightech group that resides locally: NASA. These are folks who invented wireless communication! (Disclaimer: I’m not sure NASA invented wireless communication.) Who better to assist in some advanced, covert method of sign-stealing than those folks. Anyone who was watching the home games saw many people in the crowd who were wearing crash helmets - clearly an indication that they are players for the NASA team of astronauts and engineers. Perhaps that was how they communicated signals this year. Also, I thought I caught a glimpse of Tang in the Astros’ dugout.
Or consider who showed up in Philadelphia, the “city of brotherly love,” but no other than Mattress Mac, Houston’s own ambassador of brotherly love. And what resulted? Confrontations, diversions and distractions, that’s what. There they were in the stadium concourse, cursing and yelling at each other, all these brotherly lovers. Good job, Mackey. Mission accomplished. And here is $75 million for your troubles.
And another thing: Game 3 in Philadelphia was postponed an entire day due to rain. That would not have happened had the game been played in Houston, because the Astros’ stadium has a retractable roof that controls the playing conditions. That makes you wonder what other weather-related things in that stadium are under the Astros’ control that could affect the outcome of a game. The humidity? The wind speed and direction? The temperature? The answer is all of the above.
What an advantage the Astros would have if, when the other team is at bat, the airflow is blowing against the batter and the humidity is high. Then, when the Astros come to the plate, the wind direction is suddenly reversed towards the outfield and the humidity drops significantly. What could possibly be the result? Oh, I don’t know. How about a 450-foot screamer that wins game six? That could happen. Or perhaps it already has!
In the end, I think there was no cheating this year. The folks at NASA do good work and, coincidentally, the Astros enjoy a good glass of Tang every now and then. And Mattress Mac is one lucky so-andso. And the Astros hitters swing the bat really well. Hopefully now, any talk of cheating has been tossed into the garbage can, no bangs intended.
Another indication that COVID is slowing down: Only one Astros player wore a mask during the game.
The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Johnny McNally. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.
Johnny McNally is Grimes County’s Best Dressed Businessman advocating for Grimes County and writes a bi-weekly column for the Navasota Examiner.