Can Astros repair image after cheating scandal?

HOUSTON – As sweet as the World Series win was for Astros fans in 2017 Monday’s decision from Major League Baseball was equally bitter.

The Astros -- the team that gave a city hope after a painful catastrophe -- officially labeled as cheaters.

Will the organization ever be able to repair its image?

“This will be a setback,” said Dr. Demetrius Pearson.

Pearson is an associate professor with the university’s Department of Health and Human Performance and his studies include the field of sports administration.

While Astros fans will likely be more forgiving, Pearson said supporters of other teams probably will paint the organization in a negative light for quite some time.

“Certainly fans will question and raise concerns about whether they were being cheated,” Pearson said. “Or their team being cheated during the Astros’ championship run.”

Pearson also said how Astros fans view the team longterm will depend on how well the organization rebounds from the losses of manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.

“Hopefully the team will continue to do well,” Pearson said. “Although, they’re going to certainly miss individuals who were a major part of the franchise during their successful campaigns of late.”

Pearson sees similarities between the Astros’ punishment and the so-called death penalty that SMU received in 1987 for recruiting violations. Although the death penalty was much harsher, Pearson believes it could be a while before the Astros repair their image.

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