The Houston Astros will never escape cheating allegations after they were caught stealing signs during their 2017 World Series run, and the talk resurfaced following their Game 5 win in the ALCS. Once again, whistling is the big topic of discussion.
During the ALCS two years ago, the New York Yankees accused the Astros of cheating by relaying signs to batters using a whistling sound. Major League Baseball conducted an investigation and heard whistling (like with any ballgame), but there was no proof that the Astros were guilty of using whistling sounds to alert their hitters to what was coming.
The topic came up again during 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich Show” on Thursday morning. Apparently some viewers thought they heard suspect whistling noises during Houston’s 9-1 win over the Red Sox the night before. A whistling sound could be heard just before Yordan Alvarez hit a solo home run off Chris Sale to give the Astros a 1-0 lead in the top of the second.
People whistle at sporting events. A whistling sound certainly isn’t proof that the Astros were cheating again, but people love a good conspiracy theory. After the Alvarez video gained traction, it was observed that a whistling sound could also be heard just before Jose Altuve hit a solo home run in Game 4 to tie the game in the top of the eighth. Listen at the 2-second mark below:
For the second time in this series, José Altuve has tied the game with a homer. pic.twitter.com/pohaU4Lril
— MLB (@MLB) October 20, 2021
Here’s where it gets really interesting. After the Astros were accused of the whistling antics in 2019, a man named Rafael Garcia did a deep analysis of Astros games and claimed he identified a pattern with the sounds. A video Garcia put together shows two different whistles — one Garcia believes signified fastballs and another to signify offspeed pitches. The alleged fastball whistle was a longer, flat whistle. Listen to the supposed fastball whistle at the 2:05 mark in the video below:
It could be a complete coincidence, but that whistle sounded identical to the one we heard before Altuve’s Game 4 homer.
The Astros are never going to escape this stuff, and you could argue that they deserve it. They were already accused of cheating by an opposing player during the NLDS. Anytime there’s even a slight chance they were up to something shady, fans are going to jump all over it.
Because of the history with the two teams, whistling sounds and strange lights in center field are always going to draw attention.