Cheated: The Inside Story of the Astros Scandal and a Colorful History of Sign Stealing

Doubleday. Jun. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9780385546799. $28. SPORTS
In late 2019, news broke of a cheating scandal in Major League Baseball. Upon deeper investigation, the magnitude and level of cheating and sign stealing by the Houston Astros shocked even the most ardent of baseball fans. In this debut, sportswriter Martino craftily leads readers through the scandal, with all of its twists and turns. He begins by providing interesting, relevant background information, and then lays out mountains of evidence, obtained through hundreds of documented interviews, and offers clues, all the while explaining their immediate relevance. The book culminates in a comprehensive, fascinating, yet incomplete conclusion, which includes, unfortunately, the victimization of many of the team’s unwitting participants, such as Astros hitting coach Alex Cintrón and former outfielder Carlos Beltrán. Martino’s background is the key to the story’s simple flow, which reflects a variety of perspectives, including owners, managers, players, and fans. The writing is engaging and casual throughout, allowing even those who weren’t familiar with the scandal to easily follow the reactions of other MLB teams and of the sport itself.
VERDICT This disturbing tale will satisfy baseball fans, but will also be of great interest to many other sports followers.
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