California Little Leagues Ban Astros as Team Name After Cheating Scandal

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2020

Baseball bats and gloves sit on the tarp with the new Houston Astros logo during batting practice before an exhibition baseball game against the Chicago Cubs Friday, March 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
Pat Sullivan/Associated Press

Long Beach Little League and East Fullerton Little League in Southern California have prohibited the use of Astros as a team name ahead of the 2020 season because of the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal.

Keith Sharon of the Orange County Register reported Friday that the leagues asked clubs not to use the nickname this year and may issue a permanent ban next year.

"Parents are disgusted," Long Beach Little League President Steve Klaus said. "They are disgusted with the Astros and their lack of ownership and accountability. We know there's more to this scandal. What's coming tomorrow? With the Astros, you've got premeditated cheating."

Long Beach Little League previously banned the nicknames Braves and Indians because it didn't want to use images of Native Americans on uniforms, per Sharon.

The leagues play in the Los Angeles area, where there are plenty of fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost the 2017 World Series to the Astros. The Dodgers also lost the 2018 World Series to the Boston Red Sox, who are under investigation for their own alleged sign-stealing scandal.

"I don't think it's right to represent a team that's been cheating," 11-year-old Mick Peterson of Long Beach Little League told the Register. "The Dodgers got robbed. It's not fair."

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East Fullerton Little League President Greg Taylor told Sharon he's heard from parents concerned about a scheduled trip to see the Astros face the Los Angeles Angels early in the MLB season.

"Ironically, our district chose Astros vs. Angels game on April 5 for our annual event at Anaheim Stadium in our October planning meeting," Taylor said. "We have heard from several anxious parents about players being exposed to inappropriate/unruly behavior."

At least one other league in the Los Angeles area, Orangecrest Little League, told the newspaper it hasn't considered removing Astros from the list of available team nicknames.