UofL baseball coach says advances in technology will only worsen cheating in sports

UofL baseball coach says advances in technology will only worsen cheating in sports

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - If you're a fan of baseball, the Houston Astros' cheating scandal is a tough pill to swallow.

NBC News is reporting that virtually all the players on the 2017 World Championship team had some involvement or knowledge of the scheme.

So, what are local coaches and players feeling about the game they love?

The city of Louisville has a rich baseball history, and historians at Louisville Slugger Museum can tell you we are also rich in baseball scandals. The question is how do teams move forward with every advantage without crossing the line?

The Louisville Grays scandal of 1877 saw players taking money to lose games; four were eventually banned from baseball.

The Astros won the World Series, then won the title of cheaters. They fired their manager and general manager after MLB officials determined a camera in center field was used to decode pitching signs, relayed to the dugout by texts, then passed to hitters by banging on a trash can.

Former Astros Bench Coach Alex Cora is implicated in the cheating scandal. He moved on to manage the Boston Red Sox, who won the World Series the next year.

“In sports, you’re always trying to get an advantage, trying to get an edge,” University of Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell said.

Hard work and talent have gotten his UofL Cardinals team to a pre-season No. 1 ranking this year. Tuesday afternoon, some players we’ll likely see in the big leagues were working out at Jim Patterson Stadium.

“It’s something we will address,” McDonnell said of the scandal. “You know, cheating is a hard word.”

McDonnell said sign-stealing is as old as the game itself because if a hitter knows what’s being thrown, it’s huge. Pros working out with current Cards on Tuesday said the pressure to win is significant.

“It was a little surprising,” Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Devin Hairston said of the scandal. “But I think it’s going to set a precedent for cheating moving forward ... There’s going to be people that are going to stretch it a little bit. You know, back in the day, steroids ... guys (are) still doing it ... and since technology has found its way into the game, they’re using that to gain the advantage.”

McDonnell said he agrees. Cameras, cellphones, and smartwatches have taken pure competition into dangerous territory.

“Technology has created the unethical way,” McDonnell said. The coach said there’s got to be a way to make sure cameras and televisions are monitored because with 300 Division 1 teams in the country, there’s a good chance it’s probably happened somewhere at the college level. Bats are tested in college baseball now, as more systems are in place to keep athletes from cheating.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.