The Houston Astros Cheating Rumor That's Shaking Up The World Series

It's no surprise the Houston Astros are playing in the World Series yet again. However, spectators are trying to ensure the baseball team is playing fair this time around. 

Back in 2019, the Astros became the center of national headlines after it was discovered that they were allegedly stealing signs by using a camera in the outfield, according to The Athletic. Mike Fiers, a former pitcher for the team, came forward and detailed how they were able to get away with it for so long. One of the players would reportedly review the footage, then run back and relay the opposing team's signs. Once the team knew what play was coming, they would then bang on a trash can to cue the batter on what to expect. That's how they were always one step ahead.

"That's not playing the game the right way," Fiers told The Athletic. "They were advanced and willing to go above and beyond to win." After Major League Baseball investigated the claims, the organization handed down a $5 million fine, removed the Astros placement for top draft picks in the future, and the team's managers A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were also fired, per The New York Times. Although many strongly believed the team should have also been stripped of their 2017 World Series title, they were able to keep it. 

And now, sports fans suspect the Astros could be cheating again. Here's what we know.

Framber Valdez accused of taking illegal substance during the game

Houston Astros pitcher Framber Valdez is coming in hot, and has even set a new record with 25 consecutive quality starts in a single-season, according to ESPN. However, online users — including the Phillies dugout — noticed Valdez was sweating profusely during Saturday night's game and it triggered a shocking rumor. NBC Sports reported that the pitcher was spotted "wiping his forehead and touching his right hand," which led people to believe he could have possibly been under the influence of an illegal substance. However, he was cleared after the umpires were unable to find anything out of the ordinary. 

"It seems like Framber Valdez is going to his right hand for a substance?" Hard Rock Sportsbook tweeted. "I can't believe Framber Valdez was blatantly cheating on national TV and we're supposed to be cool with that," another user wrote. Despite online speculation, Valdez addressed the accusations and explained that it's just part of his tactics when he's on the field. "Nobody should think it the wrong way," he said during a press conference. "Those are just tendencies I do throughout the game, distracting the hitter from what I'm doing." 

The Astros player also noted that, regardless of what the public may think, his team is winning legally (this time around, anyway).

Framber Valdez is focused on family

Instead of worrying about what people might be thinking about his on-the-field tactics, Framber Valdez is keeping his focus on the family. His father Jose Antonio Valdez Ramirez had traveled to Houston from his native Dominican Republic to watch his son play in his first World Series. Ramirez told that both he and his son feel like they are on top of the world celebrating this big first for their family. "I am so happy, happy, happy of what he's been able to accomplish and proud of him for everything he's done and to be here in the World Series," he gushed.

According to Our Esquina, Valdez's baseball journey helped mend his distant relationship with his father. As his dad overcame his fear of flying to see him play, Valdez celebrated the reunion with his father on Instagram.

And while Valdez and his family have every reason to celebrate his accomplishments, there's another rumor making the rounds on social media that is raising a lot of eyebrows among fans. That's because there are some eagle-eyed fans who think that the Houston Astros might be blatantly using an illegal tactic to hit home runs.

Are the Houston Astros using illegal bats?

Twitter has once again gone into Inspector Gadget mode and noticed that Martín Maldonado might or might not have been using an illegal bat during the first game of the world series. This has prompted MLB fans on Twitter to once again shake their heads in unison, with one fan tweeting, "Leaning into pitches that are strikes and using illegal bats. Houston gonna Houston." However, others have argued that the bat that was used by Maldonado is a legal one. Others said, "Albert Pujols has been allowed to use this exact bat since 2010." Another fan chimed in, tweeting, "Pujols is allowed to bc he is grandfathered in."

On October 29th, ESPN did point out that Maldonado was told to stop using Pujols' bats, even though it was true that Pujols could use it because he was indeed grandfathered in before the 2010 rule change. With all of the speculation about possible illegal substances and now game-changing bats that are being used during the games, it's no wonder MLB fans are keeping such a close eye on the smallest little details on the diamond.