A couple of months ago, Major League Baseball began an investigation into the not-so-quiet rumors that the Houston Astros were blatantly using technology to steal opposing pitcher’s signs and after a ‘thorough’ examination, these are the ‘unprecedented’ penalties that the Astros must endure:
• A one-year suspension for general manager Jeff Luhnow.
• A one-year suspension for manager A.J. Hinch.
• The forfeitures of first- and second-round draft picks in both 2020 and ’21.
• A fine of $5 million, the maximum allowed under MLB’s constitution.
• The placement of former Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman on baseball’s ineligible list.
So Major League Baseball determined that all of the rumors were true. The Houston Astros had cameras in centerfield watching the signs that the catchers were using and then instantly relayed those signs to someone in the Astros dugout who would bang on a trash can to let the hitter know what was coming.
So every time an Astros hitter stepped into the batter’s box at Minute Maid Park, they knew exactly what the pitcher was throwing to him. They used that info to win the 2017 World Series because of course they did. Knowing what pitch is coming completely changes an at-bat and gives your team and substantial advantage.
And the end result was a couple of 1-year suspensions to the manager and GM and the loss of 4 draft picks. Oh, and a $5 million fine that the team will make back Opening Day when they raise the price of beer and chicken tenders by $3. Sell a few Alex Bregman jerseys and they’ll have $5 milly in the bank by the seventh-inning stretch.
Teams lose draft picks all the time as compensation for signing top free agents. The MLB draft has 40 ROUNDS. Cool, they lost 4 picks. I get the feeling they’ll be able to find a talented player by round 32.
We also need to talk about the fact that most top young players are signed straight up from Central and South America with international pool money. You don’t even need to draft in the first round to find a stud anymore. You can just sign these top teenagers outright.
The Oakland A’s drafted Kyler Murray in the first round two years ago. Kyler Murray plays in the NFL. I don’t think Oakland is about to go 0-162 because they wasted that first round pick. Their organization is fine.
As far as the suspensions go, fuck off.
AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow got a 1-year vacation.
Yes, I’m aware they were fired shortly after but if anything, that completely negates the penalty for Houston. The Astros would’ve entered the 2020 season with an arm tied behind their back as some assistants fill in for the GM and manager but now they get to have a full search for their replacements and they’ll be fine.
The obvious question is what should have been the consequence for this sign-stealing scandal?
The report claimed that the players, along with current Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, devised this whole plan. The fact that zero players will be affected means that they got away with it. Jose Altuve still won the MVP. The team still won the World Series. And they cheated all year long. Doesn’t matter. No one was punished.
Look at these disgusting home and away splits. I’m sick.
The only explanation I’ve seen about the players being absolved of all penalties is that the Player’s Association would’ve battled any suspension that the Astros faced. If you’re MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred, you have to take that battle head on. Even if you lose, you still get the optics that you at least TRIED to punish these players.
Instead, all these guys cheated. Everyone knows it now. It’s fact. And what was the consequence? Rob Manfred is such a coward that he did absolutely nothing to discourage future teams from cheating. The Colorado Rockies can do the same exact thing this season, win the World Series and the end result will be the GM needing to find a new job in 2021.
Fuck the Houston Astros. I cannot stress that enough.
But it’s really disappointing to see Rob Manfred be a massive coward. At the end of the day, Jeff Luhnow built a dynasty in Houston and will have a job in 2021. AJ Hinch might be the only human that was negatively affected by all of this and AJ Hinch is a drunk asshole who gets into bar fights between World Series games. He was going to get himself fired one day regardless.
All of those players cheated, won the ultimate prize and were not punished. Meanwhile there are pitchers who went to Minute Maid Park, got killed, and lost jobs. Joe Girardi was fired as the Yankees manager after losing to the Astros in the ALCS.
Major League Baseball could’ve actually sent a major message to their players but nope. Bad people do bad things and they get away with it. *puts hand on heart and recites Pledge of Allegiance*