The fallout from the Astros cheating scandal continues to impact not only the Astros, but the rest of Major League Baseball.
However, the next episode of that fallout may play out in a courtroom, not on the baseball field.
Mike Bolsinger, a journeyman pitcher who has spent time with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Blue Jays, filed a civil lawsuit against the Astros in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday accusing Houston’s sign-stealing scheme of using “unfair business practices.” Bolsinger wants the Astros to forfeit the $31 million they earned in bonuses during their World Series run, and to have the money used to fund charities for children and retired MLB players in need.
Bolsinger pitched against the Astros in 2017, the year that former Astros reliever Mike Fiers told Major League Baseball that the team was operating a sophisticated sign-stealing operation using a camera in center-field.
On that particular day in 2017, August 4th, Bolsinger gave up four runs, four hits, and three walks, while only getting one out. Bolsinger was sent down to the minors after that poor performance, never to return to the majors again. Since 2017, Bolsinger has played in Japan, where he posted a 3.38 ERA in 2018 and a 4.42 ERA in 2019.
Bolsinger’s case is based in-part on research done by an Astros fan named Tony Adams. Adams listened to every pitch Astros hitters faced at home in 2017, chronicling all the times that the infamous trash can bang was heard. The banging of the trash can alerted Houston hitters to off speed pitches. During his research Adams noted that the trash can bang was heard 54 times during the August 4th game against Bolsinger and the Blue Jays, the highest number of bangs in a game that season.
Bolsinger told USA Today:
I don’t know if I’ve had a worse outing in my professional career. I remember saying, ‘It was like they knew what I was throwing. They’re laying off pitches they weren’t laying off before. It’s like they knew what was coming.’ That was the thought in my head. I felt like I didn’t have a chance.
The former Blue Jay hurler also feels like MLB’s punishment of the Astros was insufficient.
I don’t think the punishment has fit the crime. And let’s be honest, all these guys are going to get managing jobs again. … Guys like us that were cheated? I don’t have a job. I’m not playing.
MLB responded to the Astros cheating scandal by suspending General Manager Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch, fining the team $5 million, and forfeiting the team’s first and second round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn