SocraticGadfly: Quick hits on the cheating Astros

January 13, 2020

Quick hits on the cheating Astros

The Houston Astros got off relatively light for cheating, especially given that, in the last decade, Atlanta and St. Louis have had staffers barred for life from baseball. And any Houstonian, including Houston members of TPA, can either fellate me or kiss my backside if you don't like it. One-year suspensions are bullshit, and no, Jim Crane wouldn't have fired them if Manfred had given even lighter handslaps. And, no current or former players were punished at all.

Losing first and second round draft choices isn't THAT big a deal in baseball. A $5M fine isn't in any of the Big Three sports. The Cardinals lost $2M in a fine payable to the Astros, two draft choices, and Chris Correa banned for life for allegedly stealing analytics. Lower the lux tax line for the Astros by $20M each of the next two years and you have a penalty.

Yeah, Commissioner Corleone said if they give even the appearance of cheating again, they could be permanently banned. Didn't give Correa that out. And Mark Saxon claimed at the time the Cardinals got off light? Let's see if he says anything now.

The Astros' self-righteousness over Correa looks pretty hypocritical now.

Two years later, Corleone banned for life now-former Braves GM John Copolella and stripped the team of a dozen prospects.

Jeff Passan reports other owners are pissed about how light the penalties are.

The fact that Crane said no players would be disciplined — whether he means just by himself or by Commissioner Corleone Rob Manfred, adds to the "got off lightly." As for manager AJ Hinsch GM Jeff Luhnow (misread the original) claiming he knew nothing about what then-players Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran were doing, along with others? That's about as believable as Tony La Russa, when running the A's, claiming he didn't know Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were roiding.

Update, Jan. 14: The Sox have fired Cora, while the chickenshit Mets continue to say and do nothing about Beltran. Update, Jan. 16: Beltran got the ax too.

Update, Jan. 18: Other fans largely agree with me. Punish the players!

And, since Crane's comment about players not punished is coming from Manfred? Did players union head Tony Clark push for that? If so, why? The players union looks hypocritical itself if so. If not, players are still part of MLB. As Buster Olney said (damn, me agreeing with Buster) , the integrity of the game is one of five casualties.

And, Commissioner Corleone is also hypocritical when he says "they moved to other teams" as far as not punishing players.

Speaking of, roiders have never been treated that way. Manny Ramirez got suspended with the Dodgers for stuff he did while with the Red Sox, for example. A-Rod was allegedly getting needles in his butt before he was with the Yankees, and some of his Cousin Yuri procurement was surely for pre-Yankees time. Michael Pineda, suspended with the Yankees last year, has to finish that out with the Twins.

So? Rescind the trades if they moved that way. Void free agent contracts and give teams the money back if they moved that way.

Or? Strip their World Series bonus money if nothing else. Yes, that was either 2017 or 2018? And? Find a way to freeze their bank accounts, or get their current teams to dock their pay.

Beyond THAT, there were rumors — rumors that GMs of other teams should have heard — before Mike Fiers spilled the beans. And, Astros players now claiming maybe the sign-stealing didn't work, and the proof is in having a better road record? Per the book of Proverbs: "The guilty flee when nobody pursues them."

In other words, we all knew some sort of hammer was coming long ago. Manfred could have talked to Clark and top player reps in advance to get their buy-in. If they refused, drop the fucking hammer, collective bargaining agreement be damned, and let the players association try to defend cheating. Per Buster, the players' union, if Manfred even hinted at player penalties in private and it said no, has no leg to stand on, even as it continues official radio silence.

Also, given indications that the Red Sox similarly cheated in 2018, will Alex Cora be punished as a manager, if not a player? What about Beltran, newly named the Mets manager? See above.

No, now, finally.

If Corleone isn't going to punish players (I KNOW Adam Silver would), baseball has a lingering black eye.

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