Let’s take a break from the fantasy and talk about a topic that’s blowing up the sports world…The Houston Astros Cheating Scandal. I believe I have a way Major League Baseball can and should handle it.
Before I get into that though, here’s a little backstory, just incase you’re not aware of what’s going on. The Houston Astros have been caught illegally video taping opposing catchers and telling their batters what types of pitches were coming, and when. Yes, it’s confusing, there’s a legal way to do it and an illegal way to do it. I think the line lies somewhere between looking around for signs during the game, and video-taping signs as they take place and telling the batter before the pitch is thrown.
If you’re not familiar with baseball, it’s a clear advantage for the batter to know how fast or slow the ball is coming towards them. While there’s no guarantees they’d hit the ball, these guys are pros, knowing what’s coming is like bowling with the guards up. You might not bowl a strike but you’re definitely going to knock some pins down. In a game like baseball, when you can win games 1-0, any advantage is huge. After the investigation found Astros personnel guilty, a list of punishments were given out. You can bet that everyone from fans to players and coaches have opinions about it, so naturally, we’d like to give ours.
The punishment was as follows.
The General Manager and Head Coach of the Astros were suspended for the 2020 season, and then subsequently fired. The organization has also been fined $5 million and lost 4 draft picks. It’s one of the heaviest punishments a team has received from the MLB. Coaches that moved on from the Astros to manage other teams have also been fired for their role in the scandal. Sorry, not fired, “mutually agreed to part ways.” Every team is doing what they can to distance themselves from this blemish on baseball history. Oddly enough, none of the punishments have reached the players who were a huge part of this scandal. It was the players that would bang their bats to let the batter know what type of pitch was coming. Sounds like a simple cheating process, but it involved more details than I’m willing to get into.
When the Chicago White Sox allegedly lost the 1919 World Series in exchange for money from a betting organization, all the players involved were banned from playing baseball and the Hall of Fame. Some of those players would’ve earned a spot in the Hall if not for the scandal. That punishment has not been lifted.
A similar punishment was doled out to Pete Rose when, as a coach, he allegedly made illegal sports bets. Even though there was no evidence that his betting altered any of his coaching decisions, he still is not allowed to be apart of baseball or the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose has the most hits of any baseball player, in the history of the MLB. That is, of course, if you don’t count Ichiro Suzuki’s Japan League hits. It’s an incredible achievement that is definitely Hall of Fame worthy, but because of his bets, he’s not allowed in.
Both of these punishments are deservedly harsh to the individuals involved, perhaps that’s because legal entities became involved. I’m not 100% sure, what I do know is, none of the Astros players who helped orchestrate and participated in the cheating have received any punishment, nor has there been any word that there will be a punishment. Even though there’s an uproar in the league, in my opinion, it’s too late to go after the players now. The Commissioner of the League has made his punishment, and to go back on it or change it would set a bad example. He made a mistake not involving the players in the first place and now he has to deal with the repercussions of that.
There will be repercussions, players are not happy about this and baseball has many unspoken rules. Break those rules and you’re going to get hit the next time you come up to bat. The Astros players broke a written rule that degrades the game and gave them an unfair advantage. If players get hit over bat flips, the Astros are definitely going to get hit for this. Make no mistake, right or wrong, these players have a target on their backs.
I can’t forsee a solution that protects the Astros, other players have been boiling under the surface since this news was released. Not much can be done at this point.
But, here’s what I’m proposing. I thought this was the way to go when the punishments were first handed out, but it didn’t happen. Here’s what should be done:
- Maintain the Astros World Series win in the history books, albeit, with an asterisk. Some people want to see their title stripped away, but history is an important part of this game. They keep track of the most minute details and milestones. They should not get rid of this scandal, but learn from it and use it as a lesson to other coaches and players.
- Take back the World Series rings from players and coaches on the 2017 team. Logistically there might be some headaches here, but I think it can get done. If they don’t send them back, fine them for it. They didn’t earn those, so they should not be allowed to keep them.
- Take away the World Series banner that hangs in the Astros stadium, and take away any other mention of their World Series win in the building. The team should not be allowed to tout that title when it wasn’t earned.
These moves would cast a deserved shadow on the organization, the players, and coaches.
I believe that’s all the league can do at this point, at least until some players get to be chosen for the Hall of Fame. Carlos Beltran, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa will all be names to watch when their time comes. Well, they might be, baseball can be a fickle sport. Beltran and Altuve, however, have maintained and will maintain a career that could end up being Hall worthy. So, we’ll see if those players and coaches receive a ban similar to past rule breakers.
Let me know what you think, have you heard about this before? If not, what do you think about it? Should the players receive a ban from baseball like others before them, or would my punishment suffice?
Thank you for your time and remember, not all those who wander are lost.
– The Wandering One