It's not good to be a member of the Houston Astros these days. In fact, for two Little Leagues based in California, nobody will be a member of the Astros.
The Long Beach Little League and the East Fullerton Little League have both banned the use of "Astros" from their teams this year after the major league team was found to have illegally stolen signs en route to winning the 2017 World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"Parents are disgusted," Long Beach Little League president Steve Klaus told the Orange County Register. "They are disgusted with the Astros and their lack of ownership and accountability. We know there's more to this scandal. What's coming tomorrow? With the Astros, you've got premeditated cheating."
An investigation by Major League Baseball determined the Astros used a center-field camera for real-time video of catchers' signs and subsequently banged a trash can to alert hitters of incoming pitches, confirming comments made by Mike Fiers to The Athletic a few months earlier.
The sign-stealing practice -- which also included the more conventional method of using the video replay room to decode signs and relay them to a runner on second base -- extended into the 2017 postseason, when the Astros defeated the Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series.
The Los Angeles City Council even went as far as to unanimously approve a resolution urging Major League Baseball to strip World Series championships from the Astros and the Boston Red Sox, who are also under investigation for stealing signs, and award the titles to the Dodgers.
East Fullerton Little League president Greg Taylor said two teams have already changed names from the Astros.
"Our league received negative feedback from parents who felt Astros name was equated with impropriety," Taylor told the Register.
The Long Beach Little League is considering a permanent ban of the name after this season.
"Our mission statement has the words 'character' and 'integrity,'" Klaus told the Register. "It's hard to develop integrity and character when you see [cheating] at the top level."