The Red Sox and Astros don’t exactly have sterling reputations in regard to playing fair over the past few years.
The Astros were caught in a notorious sign-stealing scandal that led to their 2017 World Series. The Red Sox had a sign-stealing scandal of their own in 2018, and their manager, Alex Cora, was the bench coach and was heavily involved in the Astros’ scandal.
So when a light was seen flashing in center field during the teams’ ALCS Game 5 matchup, it certainly stirred up plenty of controversy.
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The actual answer was far more innocuous.
As it turns out, Boston TV station WFXT was filming a segment on the dining area behind the garage door. The light was from the video camera filming the segment.
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The light came on as the Red Sox were stepping up and getting ready to bat against Framber Valdez in the bottom of the fifth. To that point, Valdez had set down all 12 Red Sox batters he had faced.
As Valdez was warming up, the light came on in center field, prompting Cora to come out to the umpires and ask them about the light. Shortly after it was brought to their attention, the light went off and play resumed.
Oh, boy. Now we know what Cora has been chatting with the umps about: someone is shining a light out of the wall in center.
— Maury Brown (@BizballMaury) October 20, 2021
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Immediately following the delay, Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers singled to break up the perfect outing. Designated hitter J.D. Martinez was then hit by a pitch to put two runners on for Boston. Valdez forced outfielder Hunter Renfroe to bounce into a double play, and then got outfielder Alex Verdugo to ground out to end the inning. Valdez allowed just one run over eight innings as Houston won the game 9-1.
Of course, given the controversy surrounding the two teams, this was sure to spark plenty of speculation online as to what the cause of the light was. But as it turns out, no cheating, no scandal.