Our Voice: Fiers should not be praised for exposing cheating

Each week, The Beacon’s editorial board will take a stance on a current issue.

The baseball world is mourning right now. Not the death of a person but the integrity of the game appears to be lost in the wake of the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal.

Players were caught using cameras in the outfield and the replay monitors to steal signs from opposing teams. Many problems have arisen from the scandal and how it was brought to the public’s attention.

The Beacon staff has a problem with every part of this scandal and how it was handled. To start, we don’t like how the cheating incident became known by Major League Baseball (MLB) and the public. Mike Fiers, who was a member of the Astros during their run to the 2017 World Series, came out and publicly discussed how the Astros cheated.

“They would view opposing pitches in real-time using a camera in the outfield,” shared Fiers. “There was a monitor in the dugout that the team could watch in the tunnel, away from the public. After they figured out the signals, the players would hit a garbage can to alert the batter what was coming next.”

It is important to note that we agree this needed to be exposed, but the way Fiers did this was cowardly. He came out to the public after he was no longer a member of the Astros. Fiers could have shared his knowledge in private with the MLB, or he could have done so while it was happening instead of reaping the benefits of cheating, such as winning the World Series.

Pedro Martinez, Hall of Fame pitcher and MLB Network analyst, and Jessica Mendoza, an ESPN analyst and Mets employee, both have questioned Fiers’ decision making.

“If he was to do it when he was playing for the Houston Astros, I would say Mike Fiers has guts,” Martinez told WEEI, New England Sports Radio. “But to go and do it after you leave the Houston Astros because they don’t have you anymore, that doesn’t show me anything. You’re just a bad teammate.

“If you have integrity, you find ways to tell everybody in the clubhouse, ‘Hey, we might get in trouble for this. I don’t want to be part of this.’ You call your GM. You tell him. Or you call anybody you can or MLB or someone and say, ‘I don’t want to be part of this.’ Or you tell the team, ‘Get me out of here, I don’t want to be part of this.’ Then you show me something. But if you leave Houston, and most likely you didn’t agree with Houston when you left, and then you go and drop the entire team under the bus, I don’t trust you. I won’t trust you because we did have that rule.”

Not only did Martinez have some harsh words, but Mendoza also shared comments that received heavy scrutiny.

“I get it. If you’re with the Oakland A’s and you’re on another team, I mean, heck yeah, you better be telling your teammates, ‘Look, hey, heads up, if you hear some noises when you’re pitching, this is what’s going on,’” Mendoza said on ESPN’s Golic and Wingo show. “But to go public, it didn’t sit well with me. It made me sad for the sport that that’s how all this got found out. This wasn’t something that MLB naturally investigated or that even other teams complained about … It came from within. It was a player that was a part of it. That benefited from it during the regular season when he was a part of that team.”

Many people have criticized Mendoza and praised Fiers instead, saying he is helping clean up the game.

We agree that this needed to be exposed, but Fiers should not be praised. Martinez and Mendoza both explain that there were better ways to do this. We don’t think that this should’ve stayed buried, but just because Fiers went public with this doesn’t change what happened. He still won a World Series title with a team that cheated. He didn’t give up his World Series ring from that tainted championship.

The issue with the MLB in this scenario is this grew right under their noses. They didn’t have any knowledge of the situation. After the 2017 World Series win, the Astros bench coach Alex Cora moved on to Boston, bringing Houston’s method of cheating with him. The Red Sox, using the same idea, cheated and won the World Series.

We are strongly disappointed that this was able to happen to baseball, and the only reason it was exposed was because of Fiers going public with the information after the fact.