As with many children, my love for the game started the first time my father handed me a baseball. I knew I wanted baseball to be a big part of my life, and it turned out that I had talent. I will be the first to say that I was not the most naturally gifted pitcher. But I loved the sport and I thought that if I persevered after being drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010, I might be able to climb the ranks of the miners and have a career in the major leagues.
I made my first appearance in the majors for the Diamondbacks in 2014. From there I played for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015, where at one point I was proud to post an average of earned points 2.83 out of 16 departures. I was sidelined for most of the 2016 season with an oblique injury, then traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and sent to Triple-A. By focusing on returning to the major leagues, I embraced the journeyman label.
In the middle of the 2017 season, I was transitioning to the role of relief pitcher. My first games as a reliever made me optimistic: this could be my future in baseball. Then came the Astros game on August 4, 2017 in Houston.
I remember the game vividly, because it was my last and worst in major baseball. The stadium was packed. I live in Texas, so my wife and her friends were there. The Astros took the lead and I was brought in for the fourth run. The Astros seemed to know all the shots to come. I threw 29 shots and the Astros scored four runs on me in the third before I got out. My grounds were breaking and I ended up walking a few batters because the Astros seemed to know when to fire. The post-match recaps said I had untangled. I knew when I left the mound that it was possible; for a companion pitcher, such a bad match could be the last.
After the game, I remember, the Astros bragged in interviews about how they played. I was immediately designated for assignment by the Blue Jays - which means I was cut from the team’s 40 men list. I accepted responsibility for my performance, picked up my stuff, and never played in the major leagues again.
From there, my life changed completely. I accepted a job in Japan to earn money to support my family. I didn't want to be defined by this disastrous round against the Astros. My wife was pregnant, so it was not ideal to move to a country where we did not have friends or family, but it was the only option I had.
Then, last fall, the rumblings started. A report in Athletic revealed that during the 2017 season, the Astros had engaged in electronic panel theft, using a video camera to monitor the other team's sensors, then striking a trash can to inform Houston hitters from the field ahead. Naturally, I thought about my last game in 2017. Until news of the cheating surfaced, I had accepted that I had just been run over by the Astros. But was it more than that?
In January, the MLB commissioner confirmed that the Astros had cheated. The league suspended its manager and chief executive and the team sacked them. Journalists and concerned fans started studying the video from 2017. They understood that the Astros had cheated more often on August 4 than in any other game of the season.
The news was difficult to take. I was shocked - and angry. The Astros had denied me the opportunity to determine my own future on the mound. If I failed in my job because I was not good enough, it would be on me. I could live with that. But thinking about the cheating and the consequences it ultimately had on my family - it was something I couldn't tolerate.
For weeks after the intercourse, the Astros were unrepentant. Even on Thursday, when a few players apologized, the team owner said that the Astros deserved their World Series championship: "Our advice is that it had no impact on the game. We had good team. "
My opinion is that cheating has brought the sumptuous rewards of the Astros and that real responsibility is necessary. I want my trial to lead to positive change. In addition to claiming personal damages, I am asking the Astros to donate $ 31 million in post-season bonuses to charities. Baseball is at an important crossroads. The reaction of the game to this scandal will define its credibility and its existence for years to come.