Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow have been fired after the pair were suspended by Major League Baseball for the team's sign-stealing during the Astros' run to the 2017 World Series title and during the 2018 season.
Former Braves left fielder and now Good Day Atlanta anchor Ron Gant said those sanctions sent the right message.
"My first thought was that this is really unprecedented, because even back during the days when I was in Major League Baseball, we thoughy that teams were stealing signs, but not with technology," Gant said. "That was my initial thought, but my next thought was that it left Ron Manfred with no choice but to do this. It's been going on for a while. The Astros were accused of doing it before, and they're still doing it. So really the fines and penalties do not surprise me at all."
Gant said the sign-stealing scandal doesn't sit well with him as a competitor who played in the MLB for 16 years.
"If I'm playing against a team and I'm trying to win, I want to know by the rules that that you beat me fair and square, that you were just better than I was," he said. "But when stuff like this happens, it taints the entire game. You look back at those World Series and some of these games played in the playoffs, and it's just -- there's an asterisk next to it. And it's going to be like that forever."
Commissioner Rob Manfred strongly hinted that current Boston manager Alex Cora -- the Astros bench coach in 2017 -- will face equally or more severe punishment. Manfred said Cora developed the sign-stealing system used by the Astros. The Red Sox are under investigation for sign stealing in Cora's first season as manager in 2018, when Boston won the title.
"We'll wait and see what happens, but I'm sure he knows it's coming," Gant said of Cora.
Gant said MLB is taking a stand against cheating that other professional sports leagues in the U.S. can learn from, such as the NFL, which just dealt with the Patriots' "SpyGate" scandal.
"Until these leagues start taking these things seriously and start coming down hard on these teams, suspending coaches and suspending GM's and fining them, and especially taking draft picks away, these teams are going to continue to do it," Gant said. "So for me, what Mr. Manfred did, is he set a standard not just for Major League Baseball, but for all sports that have these kinds of things going on."