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MLB's Sign-Stealing Scandal Widens, Red Sox Fire Cora

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The sign-stealing scandal that has embroiled Major League Baseball less than a month before the start of spring training continues to widen, as another manager was fired Tuesday and players begin weighing in on the controversy.

Just a day after Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended by the MLB and then fired by their club, the Boston Red Sox have now fired manager Alex Cora.

Cora was a bench coach for the Astros in 2017 when the team won the World Series. According to Huffington Post, Cora was mentioned by name by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred 11 times in the MLB’s nine-page report, saying he “originated and executed” the scheme in which Houston used a center-field camera to decode catchers’ signals to pitchers, then banged on a trash can to relay the signs to batters so they would know what type of pitch was coming.

“Given the findings and the commissioner’s ruling, we collectively decided that it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward,” the Red Sox said in a statement attributed to owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, CEO Sam Kennedy and Cora.

“We agreed today that parting ways was the best thing for the organization,” Cora said in the statement. “I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward.”

The continuing controversy has led the MLB to suggest it may revise its rules around sign stealing, and has prompted past and present players to publicly comment on the scandal.

Pete Rose, who has been banned from baseball by the MLB since it was discovered that he gambled on the game while playing and managing, expressed a few thoughts on the scandal.

“I understand the gambling in baseball, and I was wrong, absolutely wrong,’’ Rose told USA Today Sports Tuesday in a 45-minute telephone interview. “There are no similarities in these two cases. The only thing is that we both got in trouble. We both made mistakes. I came along too early and paid a bigger price. Still, don’t you have to do something to those players?’’

Rose applauded Manfred’s suspension of Hinch, Luhnow and Cora.

“When you screw around the integrity of baseball,’’ Rose said, “baseball is going to come down hard on you. They came down hard on me. They came down hard on them.

"I’m always willing to give people a second chance, but integrity-wise, who’s going to hire these guys? The manager probably won’t find another job. The same with Alex Cora, too."

The implications of the Astros’ cheating linger heavy for many players.

Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia, who started in Game 7 of the 2017 American League Championship Series, said he was upset when he heard the MLB’s findings in the investigation.

"As more information started to come out, I'm like, we played a seven-game series in 2017, ALCS, and we lost really on kind of like one pitch,” Sabathia said on Inside the NFL. “As everything's been coming out and the more facts that we get, it's getting frustrating, man, to sit here and know that late in my career I could've had a title, maybe '17 or maybe '18. But we got cheated out of a team kind of doing something that's not within the rules of the game.”

Sabathia also applauded the penalties Manfred has dished out, but he also suggested it’s not enough, suggesting the MLB vacate the Astros’ World Series title. “I wouldn’t be mad at that.”

Dodgers star and reigning National League MVP Cody Bellinger, whose team was also affected by the Astros' cheating, weighed in on the issue.

"Honestly, we're curious to see what happens," Bellinger told ESPN's Alden Gonzalez. "It sucks, man. We were close, but we did it the right way. We could've won it if things could've gone our way. But it is what it is, man. You really can't look back on it anymore. We'll see what happens, what [MLB Commissioner Rob] Manfred wants to do. We'll see." 

Notable baseball agent Scott Boras thinks it’s time for the MLB to put down some new rules around sign stealing.

“The rule must be, no communication of information that relates to performance that has yet to happen,” Boras told Yahoo Sports. “You cannot use technology to communicate information that relates to performance that has yet to happen. And then you police it. Anyone who goes to the locker room would be suspended or fined if they use any device to communicate.”

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