CHEATED: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE ASTROS SCANDAL AND A COLORFUL HISTORY OF SIGN STEALING
Andy Martino does an absolutely terrific job investigating this scandal that shook the game of baseball to it's core. Easily presented, the first few chapters give brief instances of sign stealing in the game, dating back as far as 1900. Then we get into the meat and potatoes of why you're truly reading this book: The Houston Astros. The main players are identified (A.J. Hinch, Alex Cora, Carlos Beltran, and Jeff Luhnow), along with the teams most prolific players (Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve). Martino divests chapters into Hinch's, Cora's, Beltran's, and Luhnow's backstory, which is appreciated, as I didn't know much about any one of them off the baseball field. The book details the extreme pressure and toxic environment Jeff Luhnow and his team created in Houston. Always searching for new and "innovative" ways to get an edge on the rest of the league. This "forced" an intern to create the program Codebreaker and they were off. The team attempts to justify their cheating believing, unfoundedly mind you, other teams in the league were doing it and they were just trying "to keep up." Once past the backstories of the main players, the book then goes season by season from 2016 until the 2019 season, when the whistle was finally blown when former Astros pitcher Mike Friers went public, before the final chapter wraps up with the aftermath of the scandal at the time of printing. If you have any interest in this subject matter, you'll enjoy this book; however, be forewarned this will make your blood boil!