Astros, Red Sox Face Flurry of Lawsuits After Cheating Revelations
May 25, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) scores a run as Boston Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon (3) looks on during the sixth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Astros are already feeling repercussions from Major League Baseball, but now it appears they may have to deal with legal repercussions.
The Astros and the Boston Red Sox have been at the center of a cheating scandal in Major League Baseball since January. The Astros have already been penalized by MLB. The Red Sox are still waiting to learn if they will be penalized by MLB.
Adam Wallach, from Humble, Harris County, Texas, filed a lawsuit in Harris County District Court on Feb. 14 on behalf of himself and other Astros season ticket holders for the 2017-20 seasons. According to court documents, Wallach has alleged that the Astros “and their employees and representatives knowingly and surreptitiously engaged in a sign-stealing scheme in violation of Major League Baseball (MLB) Rules and Regulations, and secretly put a deficient product on the field that could result (and has now resulted) in severe penalties instituted by MLB.”
Those severe penalties given to the Astros by MLB include a $5 million fine and forfeiture of first and second-round picks in the MLB First-Year Player Draft for both 2020 and 2021. Former general manager Ryan Luhnow and former manager A.J. Hinch each received a one-year ban. Both were fired by team owner Jim Crane after news of the team’s cheating ways went public.
According to the court document, Wallach has filed the lawsuit against the Astros on behalf of himself and other season ticket holders for inappropriate season ticket price increases, beginning with the 2017 season and ending with the soon-to-begin 2020 season. Wallach is also demanding an injunction that prohibits the team from raising ticket prices for at least two years, the document said.
Ticket prices for games at Minute Maid Park have risen significantly since the Astros won the World Series in 2017. According to the Houston Chronicle, the average ticket price in 2013 was $66 on the secondary market. In 2018, the average ticket price jumped to $87.
Wallach is not the only person who has filed a lawsuit against the Houston Astros. The Houston Chronicle reported earlier this week that a Corpus Christi law firm – Hilliard, Martinez, Gonzalez – is seeking clients for similar lawsuits. They have placed Facebook ads and created a website.
Last month, a Massachusetts man named Kristopher Olsen filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Federal Court alleging that he and “millions of others” were victimized by the wrongful conduct of both the Astros and the Boston Red Sox. Victimized, in that Olsen and others who play fantasy baseball through the website DraftKings. Olsen is alleging that he and others saw their fantasy baseball picks affected by cheating.
The New York Daily News reported last month that Olsen filed the lawsuit on behalf of himself and anyone else who play fantasy games with DraftKings.
It doesn’t end here. A Georgia man named Anthony Oliver filed a lawsuit in federal court in Nevada against the Astros and Red Sox. His reason for filing the lawsuit is that he picked the Los Angeles Dodgers to win both the 2017 and 2018 World Series. The Dodgers lost to the Astros in seven games in 2017 and lost to Boston in five games in 2018.
According to the court document for this case, Oliver alleges that “each said defendant acted in all matters relevant to this action as the agent of the other defendant and carried out joint business plans and operations, and the acts and omissions of each defendant are legally attributable to the other defendant.” Oliver is seeking relief for damages after placing money on the World Series in both 2017 and 2018. He is also demanding a jury trial, the document said. In his lawsuit, he accuses the Astros and Red Sox of violating the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization statute and of conspiring to defraud him.
Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mike Bolsinger filed a lawsuit against the Astros in Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier this month, accusing the team of ruining his major league career. It pertains to a relief outing by Bolsinger at Minute Maid Park on Aug. 4, 2017.
Bolsinger entered the game in the fourth inning. He faced eight batters, giving up four earned runs on only 29 pitches. After the game, Bolsinger was told that he was being demoted to Triple-A Buffalo. He was never called back up and, as a free agent the following offseason, couldn’t elicit interest from any other ballclub. Bolsinger spent the last two years playing baseball in Japan.
At the time of this writing, none of these lawsuits have been resolved, nor have the Astros or Red Sox issued statements about any said lawsuits.