Astros Cheating Scandal

Plenty of takes coming in still.

Jim Rome
February 19, 2020 - 9:47 am
Rob Manfred and Jim Crane

USA Today

Categories: 

Well, it’s Wednesday, so by now pretty much everyone has gotten their takes on the Astros and the commissioner out, right? I mean, everyone who’s wanted to say something has said something, so we can all just move on, right? Everyone has gotten everything out of their system and we can finally turn the page, right. Ehhhhhhh!! 

Wrong. 

Because there are still plenty of takes coming in. And plenty of people are still coming in, HOT. Like Aaron Judge.

And I know where he’s coming from. That’s a really, really strong take. Or it would be if the Yankees hadn’t been is a gray area themselves previously. 

What I mean by that is, according to a report from The Athletic last month, “As far back as 2015, the Yankees used the video replay room to learn other teams’ sign sequences.” And there was also this: “By 2017, with rules governing electronic sign stealing still lacking the specificity that would come the next season, the Red Sox, Yankees and Astros were all using their replay rooms to help decode sign sequences in some way, sources said.”

Now, if you want to get into semantics and argue that the Yankees started doing that before the league issued the 2017 memo, but we can do that: and while I don’t disagree with what Judge said, it would be a lot stronger coming from someone else or another team that wasn’t doing something similar to what has them so pissed off right now. 

And believe this: as it continues to unfold, there are definitely going to be some dudes in glass houses that are throwing boulders. 

And Judge wasn’t the only guy going in on Manfred yesterday. Far from it. Meanwhile, Cubs pitcher Jon Lester picked up were Justin Turner left off and took a bat to Rob Manfred’s comments about the World Series trophy being “a piece of metal.” 

"That's someone that has never played our game. You play for a reason. You play for that piece of metal. I'm very proud of the three that I have. If that's the way he feels, then he needs to take his name off his trophy."

You can have a serious debate about whether the commissioner handled the initial punishment correctly, but there is no debating the fact that his weekend interview was an unmitigated disaster. In attempting to clean up a really bad situation, he somehow made it even worse. Much, much worse. In fact, he did the impossible; he took a lot of the heat off the Astros and put it on himself.  If he was looking to fall on the sword himself, he executed that perfectly. Except, you know that wasn’t his plan.

Calling the World Series trophy “a piece of metal”, especially in this situation, was an all-time bone-head move. You can’t make the trophy… the thing that all these people have spent their entire life grinding for and chasing and then just call it a piece of metal or a hunk of junk.

Then, you’re just dumping all over the hard work that’s been done to achieve it. And disrespecting the players who won that “piece of metal” previously, and the ones who busted their asses their whole career and never got anywhere near that “piece of metal.” 

It reminds me of the great Tom Crabtree tweet back in the day: Imagine you make a painting. It isn’t perfect by others’ standards, but it’s your painting. You are proud. Then someone takes a bleep on it.

In some player’s eyes, Rob Manfred essentially just took a big dump on their trophy. And Lester was just getting started:

"That's the first thing when people walk into my house: I take them to where my trophies are. I'm sure that hurt a lot of guys when they saw that, especially guys that haven't won it, that have been striving for years to try and get to it. I'm sure if Adam Dunn heard that -- he played one playoff game in his whole career -- he'd probably be pretty upset. It's a very, very special thing [Manfred] brought down significantly."

There might not be a sport that has more redasses than baseball, and I haven’t seen these guys this red-assed about anything in a long time. Maybe ever. 

So, if looking for this to just all blow over and for everyone to just keep moving, you’re looking at the wrong sport: and the wrong group of guys. Because Lester says, no one is ready to move on yet: at least not the guys who weren’t cheating, quote:

"I don't think this is going to get brushed under the rug. Guys were disappointed that players didn't get punished. He's the boss, man. He makes those decisions."

Again, as much as the Astros and Manfred want this to be swept under the rug. there’s exactly zero chance of that happening. Because, again, there might not be a sport that has more red-asses per capita than baseball. 

It is a sport legendary for guys freaking out, f-bombing each other, and looking to fight if someone is too slow out of the batter’s box on a home run or steals a base with a six run lead. Take the kind of vitriol these guys typically spit after someone goes bat flip or pimps a homerun, and multiply by infinity. 

Not only is this not going anyway, it’s getting worse: so much worse:

How do I know? Because LeBron James just jumped into the cage. With a weapon. He weaponized his twitter account, turning into a blow torch while attempting to burn the entire joint down, quote:  

Listen I know I don’t play baseball but I am in Sports and I know if someone cheated me out of winning the title and I found out about it I would be bleeping irate! I mean like uncontrollable about what I would/could do! 

Listen here baseball commissioner, listen to your players speaking today about how disgusted, mad, hurt, broken, etc etc about this. Literally the ball is in your court (or should I say field) and you need to fix this for the sake of Sports! #Just My Thoughts Coming From A Sports Junkie Regardless My Own Sport I Play

Holy crap. I’m not sure what’s better – LeBron laying out how he’d be “bleeping irate” or saying “listen here baseball commissioner…” I’m going with the latter. Because that is some all-time disrespect. 

“Listen here baseball commissioner” is incredible. Never has the term “baseball commissioner” been used as an insult, until now. LeBron might as well be saying, hey old man or look here, little man.  

I haven’t seen LeBron get that fired up on twitter since he dropped a “u bum” back in the day. And no, that is not a green light for bum smack here. And no I don’t want any more emails from Irie Craig, allegedly screaming bummmmm squad from the streets. 

Stay on point, clones. And back to LeBron. That is absolutely amazing. That’s a star athlete in one sport coming out of nowhere to destroy the commissioner of another sport because he’s a fan of the game and he’s pissed off by how the commissioner is handling it. And then telling him “you need to fix this for the sake of sports!”  Got that, BASEBALL COMMISSIONER?! 

What’s next? Lamar Jackson taking a run at the commissioner? Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin jumping on Facebook live to smash him? Rory McIlroy taking to Instagram with a “listen here baseball commissioner”? The winner of Wilder-Fury II demanding to face Manfred in the ring next?

At this point, none of that would surprise me. The commissioner is on the mound right now and he’s getting absolutely shelled and there’s nobody up in the bullpen. It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse. His arm is hanging, he’s getting rocked, and there is no help on the way. This dude better find a way to make a pitch or two to work out, or he’s going to be out there a helluva long time. Hell, even dopey Bud Selig would have never handled this, this badly.