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Houston Astros head to World Series, just a few years after their cheating scandal

Ryan Pressly of the Houston Astros celebrates with Martin Maldonado after the final out in the ninth inning, defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-0 on Friday  and advancing to the World Series.
Ryan Pressly of the Houston Astros celebrates with Martin Maldonado after the final out in the ninth inning, defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-0 on Friday and advancing to the World Series.

It's a good day to be a Houston Astros fan — if you can handle a little controversy.

The Astros are going to the World Series later this month, after besting the Boston Red Sox on Friday. This will mark the Astros' third appearance in the World Series in 5 years. They won the whole shebang in 2017 when they defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that win has since been mired in controversy.

In 2019, an investigation found that the Astros had engaged in sign-stealing in 2017 and a portion of 2018. The scheme famously involved banging a trash can with a bat to communicate upcoming pitches.

After the news broke, the Astros owners fired team General Manager Jeff Luhnow as well as General Manager A.J. Hinch. The league also hit the franchise with a $5 million fine and the team was made to forfeit draft picks for the following two seasons.

But despite the conclusion that the majority of position players in 2017 participated in the sign-stealing debacle, no players were suspended, much to the anger of some in the sports world. It's been a dark cloud over the franchise in recent years, and the repercussions the team faced — or, if you ask some, the lack thereof — continue to be a hot topic of debate for sports fans.

The Astros look to put the scandal behind them

But it's clear that the Astros are determined to move on, as Astros owner Jim Crane said in an interview with The New York Times after beating the Red Sox 5-0 on Friday.

"It's brought up every day so you have to see it," Crane told the outlet. "I think it's behind us. We proved that tonight and we're proud of the guys. And they're great players, and great players win championships."

The players seem to agree.

"We've made mistakes in the past, but you can't go back," Lance McCullers, one of a handful of players from 2017 who are still on the team following the scandal, said, according to ESPN. "All we can do is continue to move forward, play good baseball, stay within our clubhouse and our fan base and our amazing city, and just do our thing."

However, some on Twitter aren't so convinced that the past is really in the past.

"The Astros shouldn't even be a franchise," wrote one Twitter user in response to the MLB's tweet that the Astros were heading to the World Series.

"Astros winning is bad for baseball," wrote another. One user shared a gif that reads, "Once a cheater, always a cheater."

But Astros fans are standing behind their team. As one fan wrote on Twitter, "The haters fuel the @astros, so keep on hatin'."

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