Editor’s Note: Normally, I don’t talk about baseball or watch baseball. But every once in a while, the MLB finds a way to royally crew things up and I feel the need to dip the pen.
When you are a child and you misbehave, you need to be punished in order to learn your lesson. There are a few different levels of punishment; You could receive a “stern talking to”, get grounded, have to give up your phone or your video game controller potentially, or worse of all — You could get spanked.
Nothing is worse than getting spanked, (1) it hurts… It’s embarrassing… But you learn your lesson.
- I know it’s taboo now, but I still think a spanking here or there is good for a kid, but maybe I’m just old-fashioned.
The MLB and Rob Manfred didn’t “spank” the Astros with the punishments they handed down, they just gave them the old “stern talking to” and expected the Astro’s to learn their lesson. They didn’t. They still get to keep their ring and their MVP awards, and it will only be a matter of time before they are sneaking out past curfew, again.
Congratulations, Rob Manfred. You really screwed this one up. You had an opportunity to “preserve the sanctity (2) of baseball” and you pulled a Clayton Kershaw; Right when the pressure was on and the lights were the brightest, you turtled. (3) Instead of pulling out the wooden paddle, you yelled at the kids half-assed from the other room and went back to drinking your beer on the couch.
- “Preserve the sanctity of baseball” — What the hell does that even mean? That saying has been muttered by baseball “purists” and the MLB for decades, but it’s bull shit. What “sanctity” have you ever had? Did we forget about the Black Sox scandal? Making the anti-semitic Ty Cobb the face of your league? Pete Rose? Steroids? The MLB is the dirtiest league in all of pro-sports.
- But even that comparison isn’t fair to make — The only reason we view Kershaw as a “choker” is because he lost to the Astros in the World Series.
If you had a spine: You would have suspended the Astro’s for a year, vacated their 2017 World Series trophy, and stripped Jose Altuve of his MVP award. Instead, you gave the biggest cheaters in MLB history (which is really saying something for this league) a slap on the wrist by only fining them $5 million and taking away a couple of first and second-round draft picks.
At first, I didn’t think the Astro’s cheating scandal was a big a deal. All they were doing is banging on a couple of garbage bins and I’ve always felt it was the pitchers and catchers job to switch up their signals every inning or so. I thought it was overblown. But then it came out that the Astro’s wore buzzers during their at-bats (allegedly) and had a whole system set up to steal signs from the other team. This wasn’t some rinky-dink operation with a few players and college interns involved, this was an entire organization (for lack of better words) cheating their balls off. The Astro’s are cheaters, not champions, and the fact they get to keep their trophy, should make you sick.
“They are hypocrites, they are cheaters, they’ve stolen from a lot of other people and the game itself was completely unfair,” Reds Pitcher, Trevor Bauer said. “You guys think you are better than everyone and you don’t have to abide by the rules? Fuck you.”
It’s crazy the amount of MLB players who have come out against Houston, considering the Astro’s personnel said: “About eight other teams used technology to steal signs in 2017 or 2018–such was the culture of the time.” If it really was the culture of the time, then why is everyone so pissed at you? “I thought Manfred’s punishment was weak, giving them immunity,” Dodgers Outfielder, Cody Bellinger said Friday. “I mean these guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don’t realize is Altuve stole an MVP from [Yankees outfielder Aaron] Judge in ’17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us.”
The Astro’s took cheating to a whole other level, this wasn’t like they had one or two players on steroids or a player betting on his own team to win games (Pete Rose). They went above and beyond any form of cheating we have ever seen before and what pisses me off the most is they have no remorse about it.
During his 27 minute news conference last week, Owner Jim Crane accepted zero responsibility and at one point claimed “this didn’t impact the game.” Huh? Can you imagine using technology to hack into another coach’s headset during a football game and saying it “had no impact on the game”? Then when Crane was questioned on that comment a few seconds later, he simply responded “I didn’t say that.” That’s rich.
Then Jose Altuve entered the press conference and when asked whether or not the Astro’s used buzzers to gain an advantage, he said “the MLB did their investigation and they didn’t find anything. They found what they found. In 2017, they did a really good investigation. They did an investigation on the buzzer and didn’t find anything.” In other words, he did it, but wasn’t found guilty.
Throughout the first day of Spring Training, Astro player’s were questioned as to why Altuve didn’t want his jersey taken off and the answers were conflicting. Some said it was because he was “shy”, (4) others because “his wife would have been upset”, and one even said it was because “he had an unfinished tattoo that he didn’t want revealed”. The fact that there are conflicting reports should be all the evidence we need that this in fact happened — They couldn’t even take the time to get their stories straight!?
- “Shy?!” I’m sorry but if you are built like Altuve, you can’t wait to get pictured shirtless. Believe me, I know what it’s like to be embarrassed to take your shirt off, Altuve doesn’t have that problem.
During interviews last week, the entire Astro’s roster gave their own versions of “apologies”, but they fell on deaf ears. No one wants to hear it. You cheated and got away essentially scot-free. I don’t give a damn if they lost some draft picks or the billion-dollar franchise had to pay a small fine, far bigger punishments have been given to players who did far less (Pete Rose and Barry Bonds to name a couple).
I know vacating titles and awards isn’t a perfect solution and everyone will still call them the “champions” (5) of 2017, but you have to do something that carries some weight. There is no way to know if they would have won the World Series without cheating and we can’t replay it, I get that. But it seems the Astro’s themselves didn’t think they would without some extra illegal help.
- If you don’t think vacating awards and titles has meaning, ask Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose how they felt when the Final Four banners were taken down from the Chrysler Arena? Or if Reggie Bush doesn’t wish he could be up on that stage giving away the Heisman trophy during the Ceremony in New York every year.
The Astro’s should have had everything stripped from them… And they should have been spanked as well. (6)
- I will say this though, this upcoming year is the most excited I’ve been for an MLB season in my entire life. The Astro’s will be must-watch TV for anyone who is a fan of drama — If they have a horrible season, then it’s a fact that they were only good because they stole signs and if they have a great year, then they prove that it wasn’t just because they knew the opposing team’s signs that they won the world series. I’m personally rooting for the Astro’s to have a season from hell, but either way, it will be a great story.