February 18, 2020 / 10:09 PM / 4 months ago

Angry Astros ticket holder sues team after sign stealing scandal

(Reuters) - A disgruntled season ticket holder has sued the Houston Astros over the team’s pitch sign stealing scandal, alleging that the team knowingly fielded a “deficient product” and subsequently overcharged for tickets.

FILE PHOTO: Dec 10, 2019; San Diego, CA, USA; Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch speaks to the media during the MLB Winter Meetings at Manchester Grand Hyatt. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sport/File Photo

Adam Wallach, a resident of Humble, Texas, is the only plaintiff listed in a lawsuit seeking class action status. It seeks to recover damages from “inappropriate increases” in season ticket prices from 2017 through 2020.

“Defendants 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,” according to the suit.

The suit also alleges that the scandal has tainted the team’s recent success, leading to “diminished value of their personal seat licenses.”

The lawsuit, which was filed on Friday, cited a Wall Street Journal report that said the Astros’ front office set the scheme in motion, and seeks to prevent the Astros from raising season ticket prices “for at least two years.”

A spokesman for the Astros said the team does not comment on pending legal matters.

Manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow were fired after they each received a one-year suspension from MLB because of the cheating scandal, which called into question the legitimacy of their 2017 World Series title.

The lawsuit is not the first to be filed in the wake of the cheating scandal.

Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mike Bolsinger sued the Astros earlier this month, alleging that sign stealing during Houston’s World Series-winning season led to the end of his career.

An inning against the Astros in which Bolsinger let up four runs during a 16-7 August rout undermined his reputation as a “successful” relief pitcher, and he was “immediately sent down to Triple A after the game never to be called up again,” according to the lawsuit.

Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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