Mike Fiers, the whistle-blower of the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, didn’t play them all series
Ever since the MLB postseason started, the Houston Astros have been drinking the proverbial tears of their haters on a daily basis. First, they swept the Minnesota Twins in the Wild Card Round and boasted about it, much to the chagrin of many baseball fans. Then on Thursday, the Astros eliminated the rival Oakland Athletics in four games to advance to the ALCS for the second-straight season. The Astros took great joy in sending their rivals home from the Golden State, but one notable member of the team never took the field.
Out of all 14 pitchers available to Oakland in the ALDS, only one never took the mound, and that was Mike Fier, the whistleblower in Houston’s sign-stealing scandal.
Fiers absence is notable
It’s strange that the Athletics didn’t send Fiers to the mound once during the ALDS, but it’s been a common theme all season. The veteran right-hander didn’t pitch any of Oakland’s 10 regular-season games against Houston. Not one! Many thought that the Athletics were purposely ensuring Fiers wouldn’t pitch against Houston, but manager Bob Melvin denied such claims. He said it was just a coincidence that Fiers “missed them every time,” and that he’d potentially pitch in the series. That never happened.
In all likelihood, the Athletics really couldn’t use Fiers unless they reached Game 5 in the ALDS, because he pitched in the final game of their Wild Card series against the Chicago White Sox. Fiers only lasted 1.2 innings, where he allowed one earned run on five hits (one home run).
Shortly after last year’s World Series, Fiers told The Athletic that the Astros stole signs throughout the 2017 season through a camera located in center field of Minute Maid Park. The feed would go to a television near the dugout and relay the signals to the batter, which was later revealed to be through the use of trash can bangs. Fiers was a member of the Astros that season, and he warned his teammates on the Detroit Tigers and Athletics in subsequent years of Houston’s means of stealing signs. Even though he confirmed Houston’s cheating scandal, he was criticized by ex-players and media pundits for “snitching” on his team and for accepting the World Series ring that year. But Fiers couldn’t live with the guilty conscience any longer, and decided to let the world know of what went down in H-Town.
Fiers versus the Astros on the postseason stage would have made for a tremendous viewing experience. Sadly, fans never got to experience it.