Mike Fiers was showered with cheers at an Oakland Athletics fan event Saturday, three months after the pitcher exposed his former team, the Houston Astros, for using a camera in center field to steal signs illegally.
It was just Fiers’ second public appearance since he detailed the Astros’ cheating saga that has led to the demise of three managers and one general manager.
On Friday, the Athletics hurler 34-year-old declined to comment on what has become one of baseball’s darkest scandals.
It began in November when Fiers told The Athletic what many other teams had long suspected — that the Astros were engaged in an illegal scheme to steal pitchers’ signs using a camera in the outfield to relay signs to the dugout, where players would then bang on garbage cans to alert batters of what pitches were coming.
MLB confirmed Fiers’ findings in an investigation earlier this month, and determined the cheating took place when the Astros won the World Series in 2017, and parts of the 2018 season.
Commissioner Rob Mangred suspended Houston manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow for one season, and both subsequently were fired.
Houston was fined $5 million and stripped of their next two first- and second-round picks. Red Sox manager Alex Cora also was fired, as he was the Astros bench coach in 2017 and was found to have helped develop the scheme. Mets manager Carlos Beltran, on the job for all of three months, also was axed after being the only former or current player to be implicated in the report. The Mets replaced Beltran with rookie manager Luis Rojas, while the Astros and Red Sox have yet to fill their vacancies.
Fiers played for Houston from 2015 to 2017, but did not pitch during the ’17 playoffs (he still received a World Series ring).
Following that postseason, Fiers signed with the Detroit Tigers and that same year was traded to the Athletics, with whom he went 15-4 with a 3.90 ERA last season and pitched his second-career no-hitter.
While fans of the A’s — who are in the same division as the Astros — showed off their support for Fiers, not everyone has been pleased with his decision to play role of whistleblower.
“If he was to do it when he was playing for the Houston Astros, I would say Mike Fiers has guts,” legendary pitcher Pedro Martinez said this week. “But to go and do it after you leave the Houston Astros because they don’t have you anymore, that doesn’t show me anything. You’re just a bad teammate.”