The Houston Astros didn’t make the World Series this year. But they’re still widely considered one of the best teams of the past decade. FRONTLINE’s documentary The Astros Edge: Triumph and Scandal in Major League Baseball examines how the team used cutting-edge techniques to rise from the bottom of the league to the top, and what happened in 2017 when they went too far in what would become one of the worst cheating scandals in MLB history.
The Astros Edge correspondent Ben Reiter has covered the team extensively for Sports Illustrated and boldly predicted the Astros’ stratospheric rise at a time when they were coming off a three-year slump. His book called Astroball unpacked some of the team’s techniques, which were modeled on strategies from the business world. After The Athletic revealed that the team had used an illegal sign-stealing scheme, Reiter hosted a podcast series examining how the scandal unfolded.
Reiter sat down with The FRONTLINE Dispatch to talk about the scandal and the limited accountability that followed. He told host and FRONTLINE editor-in-chief and executive producer Raney Aronson-Rath that he thinks the scandal has implications that go beyond baseball.
“What does it mean when your business becomes so obsessed with efficiency and profit over everything else?” he said. “Like, yeah, there's a good chance you're going to have a lot of success, but there's a lot of problems that come with that.”