MLB Players Won't Stop Talking About Scandal

If Mike Trout is talking about how scummy you are, you’re already at the point of no return.

Jim Rome
February 18, 2020 - 9:42 am
MIke Trout

USA Today

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It has been more than a month since Major League Baseball announced the punishments for the Houston Astros in the garbage can scandal. More than a month. I’m not sure if that feels short or long, but I know to Rob Manfred it must feel like a lifetime. I’m guessing his hope had been that it would be a story for a week and then maybe a day or two when camps opened and that would be that.

Except it hasn’t been. Because we’re one month in and it’s as strong as ever, stronger in fact.  IN FACT, TO QUOTE A HOUSTON LEGEND, IT’S AS STRONG AS HORSE RADISH!  (INSERT). And just as much venom is now being directed at the commissioner himself as at the players involved. 

About the only player who is saying that he’s had enough of talking about the Astros is Red Sox DH JD Martinez: "I understand players' frustrations and stuff like that, but I think, in my opinion, it's already getting a little bit too much. We have to move past it at some point. We can't continue to talk about it. I know it's frustrating right now. People want to talk about it, this and that, but it's 2020.”

I get where Martinez is coming from on that. My guess is that he’s probably pretty tired of being asked about the Astros and a lot of guys are talking a lot of mess publicly about how angry they are about all of it. 

And at some point, there’s probably going to be a guy who’s talking a lot of junk about how much the Astros cheat who is going to get busted for cheating himself, either stealing signs, using peds, or something else. 

But it is pretty interesting that a guy on a team being investigated for cheating is saying that we’re talking too much about cheating. I MEAN, THAT’S PRETTY RICH, RIGHT?? OF COURSE, Martinez HAS been adamant that the Red Sox didn’t cheat in 2018 and he’s expecting that the investigation will prove that. 

Meanwhile, nobody is listening to Martinez’s opinion that we all just move on. Because there are plenty of guys digging into the batter’s box looking to tee off on the Astros or the commissioner or both.  

Angels centerfielder Mike Trout weighed in. First of all, before I get to what Trout said, just consider that phrase for a second: “Angels centerfielder Mike Trout weighed in.”

Mike Trout doesn’t weigh in on anything. He shows up, mashes, robs home runs, smiles, and goes about his business. He’s not the kind of guy to bump his gums at all. He doesn’t complain, he doesn’t take shots at guys, he just handles his job. And keeps his mouth shut. My man is a first ballot hall of famer when it comes to staying to himself and not making any waves at all. And even he couldn’t wait to talk about the Astros:

"It's tough. They cheated. I don't agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys' careers have been affected, a lot of people lost jobs. It was tough. Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming -- it would be pretty fun up there."

If you didn’t know how big this was before, now you know. Because Trout is coming in with takes. And adding this: "I lost some respect for some guys.”

The other key there is he mentioned it was a quote, “a player driven thing,” another reason why so many players are so furious; because the Manfred report called it that:  a player driven thing: yet none of the players were punished: how the hell does that work.  It was a player driven scandal, the players benefitted from the scandal, yet not one of them was punished. This is a huge reason why so many people are still so angry; because in their minds, justice wasn’t served. 

Meanwhile, Yankees infielder Gleyber Torres has thoughts, as well. Torres asks how we do know the Astros weren’t cheating last year as well: “If you cheated in 2017 and won, why wouldn’t you cheat the next year and the next year, too?”

And he’s ready to back up his theory. “If I played video games with you and I see your controller, I’ll know what’s coming. I will hit really well and I will win. And if you tell me we’re playing again, I’ll do the same thing because I won.”

How does Gleyber Torres know this? Because that’s exactly what Gleyber Torres does when he plays video games with Luis Severino: “When I face Severino, I see the controller. The next time, I do the same thing.” 

But it wasn’t just about the Astros. Because the longer this has worn on, the more the commissioner has been taking heat. Like this from Mark Cuban, who tweeted out a video of Rob Manfred’s interview with Karl Ravech, and added the note:

Baseball is a mess right now and they have zero vision to see them out of it. I’m thankful they didn’t let me buy a team.

Bam! Have some. It’s one thing for someone in another league to call baseball a “mess” with “zero vision” but it’s another for Cuban to say he’s thankful they didn’t let him buy a team. Because you know how badly he wanted a team and how much it bugged him when they blocked him.

And I can’t say that he’s wrong about the mess or the vision part, either. Because we’re one month into this and it is showing no signs of stopping. This is consuming the entire sport right now. And because you have guys like Justin Turner directing their fire at the commissioner himself and his rationale for not stripping the Astros of their World Series title. 

There was this thought about the precedent that the commissioner has created: "Now anyone who goes forward and cheats to win a World Series they can live with themselves knowing that, 'Oh, it's OK. ... We'll cheat in the World Series and bring the title back to L.A. Screw [manager] Dave Roberts and screw [general manager] Andrew [Friedman]. It's just those guys losing their jobs. I still get to be called a champion the rest of my life.' So the precedent was set by him yesterday in this case."

Holy crap….that’s serious fire. But that wasn’t even the spiciest stuff. Turner had more and it was personal. Personal to him and personal to the commissioner.  

"I don't know if the commissioner has ever won anything in his life. Maybe he hasn't. But the reason every guy's in this room, the reason every guy is working out all offseason, and showing up to camp early and putting in all the time and effort is specifically for that trophy, which, by the way, is called the commissioner's trophy.”

That is strong as hell. When was the last time you heard an athlete in any sport going after the commissioner of that sport with that kind of fire? And Turner wasn’t done. He had another huge shot to land.

"So for him to devalue it the way he did yesterday just tells me how out of touch he is with the players in this game. At this point the only thing devaluing that trophy is that it says 'commissioner' on it."

Boom! Turner climbed up onto the turnbuckle for that one and absolutely leveled Rob Manfred. Very clearly, turner did not appreciate Manfred referring to the trophy as a piece of metal.

“At this point the only thing devaluing that trophy is that it says 'commissioner' on it." That is one of the all-time great lines in any sport about any topic. The Astros didn’t devalue the trophy, the commissioner did is an incredible take. 

Having a cheating scandal is one thing. Having a cheating scandal where everyone is pissed at the cheaters and the commissioner for how he handled it is another. You can see Mark Cuban has an axe to grind because they wouldn’t let him in, but he’s absolutely right in saying leadership has absolutely no vision for working their way out of this. And if they really do, now would be a damn good time to show it. Because Mike Trout is talking about how scummy you are, you’re already at the point of no return.