Astros: Public Enemy #1

The Astros would like to move on from the sign stealing scandal.  It ain’t happening any time soon.

The negative reactions continue.  Many prominent players have spoken out about stripping the team of their title and/or punishing the players.  Athletes from other sports (notably Lebron James) have weighed in.

New Astros manager Dusty Baker verbalized an appeal to MLB to protect the players from retaliation. Meanwhile a sports book has set the over/under on Astros getting plunked at 83.5, indicating they don’t think that protection is coming.

The announcement of the Red Sox’ fate is still said to be imminent but has still not happened.  The Astros wish it would and that the stir it causes pushes them into the background at least a little.  If how spun up people got over Jose Altuve’s tattoo is any indication, they shouldn’t hold their breath.

Meanwhile, Rob Manfred cracked a bit and is also facing backlash.  When attempting to explain his view that stripping the Astros’ title wouldn’t be worthwhile, he referred to the trophy as a piece of metal.  Unsurprisingly folks got very offended.  He’s since apologized. It’s rare that he loses his composure, but a gaffe like that can only be described as such.  He can live it down, but he’d best not make a habit of such verbal missteps else the owners may feel compelled to take action.

Back to the punishment thing…I’ve mentioned before the players were given immunity during the investigation of the scandal in order to complete said investigation.  If that immunity were retracted, it’s a certainty that there would be a grievance from the MLBPA on behalf of the Astros players and that the Astros players would likely win.  The embarrassment and outrage over that would compound what MLB is already struggling with.  Also, if MLB went back on a promise of immunity, who would ever cooperate with any MLB investigation ever again?

Further, the typical player punishment for on-field infractions tends to be in the 5-10 game range.  Nobody who wants the players punished would be satisfied with that.  However, more would set a new precedent, one that has not been negotiated with the union, and a likely catalyst also of a grievance that MLB just might lose.

Lastly, it should be remembered how this all began.  In September 2017, the Red Sox had been caught using cell phones to relay decoded signs from the video rooms to players using Apple watches.  Manfred sent a “knock it off” warning to all the teams…and it finished thusly: “Finally, each Club’s General Manager and Field Manager will be held accountable for ensuring that the rules outlined in this memorandum are followed by players and Club personnel.”. It was always going to be the GM and manager of any offending team that was going to take the fall.  It was the GM’s and manager’s job to give notice to the players and police them as needed.  Luhnow and Hinch did not do it, thus they got hammered, and deserved it.  There was no notice to the players, and I’ve read multiple reports that, as a result, any attempt to punish the players would get overturned in a grievance hearing on that ground as well.

9 thoughts on “Astros: Public Enemy #1

  1. The Asstro franchise has been punished with a fine, loss of draft picks, & firing the manager & GM. The Red Sox have fired their manager. Time to fine and remove draft picks there also. Other than making each team forfeit it’s WS title, not sure what else can be done. So with the franchises covered, what about the players?

    I think possibly the most extreme punishment for the players, more so than fining them or making them give up their rings, would be to give them a punishment that is familiar to the fans. For the 2020 season, the players involved should have to wear headsets every game and listen to Joe Buck do the play by play of each game they play. Since it wouldn’t be physically possible for Buck to be at all games for both teams, an animatronic Joe Buck will be built to handle that. The challenge will be figuring out which Buck is the real one. I think a punishment this severe would be a huge deterrent to players ever devising ways to cheat again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay, Spartan, now you’re getting into the realm of cruel and unusual punishment, and I approve.

      But if an animatronic Joe Buck is unavailable, there are other options, such as forcing players to listen to Chris Berman’s inane “Back… back… back…” on every home run in every game, or perhaps Michael Kay’s annoying “Sssssseeya!”, or even Hawk Harrelson’s “He gone!!” on every strikeout. The possibilities are endless.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Should they repeat their offenses, they should be condemned to streaming Shep and Jack chatting to fill the open time in their days: in elevators, while driving, waiting at the doctor’s office, etc. And the new union contract should refuse reimbursement for mental health services utilized after said streaming breaks them into hopeless, humorless, bitter men.

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  2. I’m over here still waiting for the Red Sox to be punished. Meanwhile half the league is talking about how they want to throw down with the Astros. MLB is pointing fingers at the Players Association, who is pointing fingers back at MLB. There’s a new contract to negotiate and it’s happening at a time where the union in incredibly divided. It will be very interesting to see what happens once they all start playing baseball. Will we see a rise in pitches that “just got away”? Will anyone do anything about it? Or will MLB and the tv networks salivate at all the additional eyes and clicks that will be garnered due to the bloodlust. Will there be a new policy to punish future sign stealers? Will we finally ditch the unwritten rules? Or will it all just blow up in our faces?

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    1. Bellinger and Turner, to name a couple, have had a fair amount to say about the Asstros cheating. Wonder if they will say as much about the Red Sox with Betts and Price now being team mates.

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  3. Meanwhile, Historio (Beltran’s new niece) is intensifying the HBPiD watch for Astros’ games.

    Which begs the question… if say Bregman or Altuve keep acting like a dick, does it count as HBPiD any time one of them gets plunked?

    Liked by 2 people

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