BC alum in the spotlight over Astros cheating scandal
Broward College athletics has a countless number of alumni who have gone on to bigger and better things in sports like playing at the professional level. One name that stands out that could be considered most recent is Oakland Athletics pitcher Mike Fiers, who has been in the media scene quite a lot in these past couple months mainly for coming out and accusing the Houston Astros of stealing catcher signs using technology back in 2017.
Known for throwing two no-hitters and his stylish C-shaped beard, Fiers has been a well-known household name in the MLB community.
Fiers is a local name product who attended Deerfield Beach High School who enrolled in Broward College back in 2004. Fiers stood out quickly after he came to try out as a freshman for the baseball team at Broward showing great promise. Fiers was throwing a fastball, slider, changeup and curveball all at Major League speed.
He soon transferred from BC to the University of Cumberland in Kentucky, but eventually was given an opportunity to play back home at Nova Southeastern University. Soon after, he was drafted 22nd overall in the first round.
Fiers was a member of the Houston Astros in 2017 when they began using an illicit sign-stealing operation that involved using a video camera in center field to zoom in on the opposing catcher to read and decipher the signs he was relaying to the pitcher.
After the Astros had three managers and one general manager fired after the release of the scandal, Fiers came out right after that accusing the Astros of cheating.
The idea was that the cameraman would relay the sign to a person in the Astros dugout and then that person would bang on a metal trash can to let the batter in the box know. One or two bangs meant an off-speed pitch was coming, no bang meant a fastball was coming.
The Athletic spoke to four sources from the Houston Astros organization in 2017, including Fiers who said the Astros stole signs from an outfield camera at their home games. He also told The Athletic he had let his former team (Detroit Tigers) and current team (Oakland A’s) know about the cheating operation the Astros had going on.
Fiers stated,” I just want the game to be cleaned up a little bit because there are guys losing their jobs because they are going into the situation unaware.”
“I had to let my team know for when we went to go play them at Minute Maid Stadium,” Fiers told Sports Illustrated.
Some view the Oakland A’s starting pitcher as a snitch for his choice to tell The Athletic, among others about the Astros sign stealing. Soon into a week after Fiers came out, many players have held praise for Fiers for having the courage to come out and others show disdain about his decision calling him a “snitch.”
But with a closer look at the reporting and quotes, especially those from Fiers and some of his critics, it paints a better picture of Fiers as an honest whistleblower trying to do good and right a wrong.
This situation has damaged the Astros’ image perhaps permanently. Once admired for using analytics and smart trades to bring their team from the cellar to the throne, their reputation is now tarnished.
But Fiers wasn’t alone in accusing the Astros of cheating; there were other cooperating sources in the original report. Fiers was just the only one with enough courage to put his name behind his words.
Fiers’ current manager, Bob Melvin, came to his player’s defense.
“A lot was reported to the league, but it is tough to get something done unless a player that was there comes out and says something. It wasn’t going to go down any other way,” Melvin told the press and media. “And this is significant enough that it needed to be addressed. And as time goes on, he will be revered for doing this, and in time it’ll make baseball a better place.”