Written by: Austin Verhille

The Houston Astros apologized and it was an absolute joke

It’s impossible to take all the bias out of things. So I must preface this with I am a Yankees fan. However, I truly believe that I would feel the same way (Maybe minus the anger) about the Astros if they had not eliminated the Yankees.

When this scandal had first been leaked I have to admit, I was scared that this was a league-wide thing and that fear was further heightened after the Red Sox started to get investigated. However, league reaction has proven that to not be true. Cody Bellinger came out and stated that Altuve stole an MVP award from Aaron Judge and that the Astros stole a title from himself and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Go to Trevor Bauer’s twitter he was having a field day, Whit Merrifield had comments, I can go on and on that doesn’t even remotely come close to all the players that complained but an article can only be so big.

Point is, players would not complain if they were also guilty of the same crime. How many players complained about PED’s back in the day? PED’s were a league-wide issue and if a player started complaining about someone else using steroids and then Busted using them as well that player would be mocked for the rest of his career and probably the rest of his life.

Yankees reliever Adam Ottavino was on the Micheal Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN and said after the Astros stopped with the trash cans they didn’t just stop cheating, they got smarter. Why would the Astros stop cheating if it got them a ring? Now, the MLB’s commissioner report stated that they found no evidence of cheating with buzzers in 2019. The only people that believe that are Rob Manfred, Jim Crane, and the Astros players and they probably don’t believe it either.

Rob Manfred’s punishment on the Astros was not nearly enough. While $5 million is the maximum that the MLB can fine its pocket change for the Astros and Jim Crane. AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow getting suspended for a year is solid but, Crane getting rid of them anyway (in what is probably a move to save face) gets rid of the biggest aspect of the punishment. Manfred also cut the 1st and 2nd round picks for this year and next and slashed international spending money. That’s a serious punishment but for a team that competes at a very high level, it doesn’t hurt the Astros nearly as much as it would hurt a team that finishes at the end of the bottom of the league.

The two aspects that got people the most frustrated about the punishment was leaving the 2017 championship and no punishments to players.

Punishing the individual players would be far too complicated. Some players may not have participated as much as the others or even at all.

Also, the players union would not allow it. Which is cutting off your nose to spite your face because the rest of the players in the league are clearly very angry about what transpired.

The 2017 championship should have been vacated, however. While many people including Tim Laduca of the Yankees Nation Podcast have brought up that if you take away the title that people won’t forget and the punishment would essentially mean nothing. But if I asked: who won the 1935 World Series? What would you do? Unless you’re a baseball historian with the World Series winners memorized you would look it up. Tigers won it by the way. Point being, if in the future someone is looking up who the World Series winner was in 2017 it would say vacant and not the Astros. Also, vacating the title would make it that the Astros are once again an organization without a World Series championship which is just embarrassing. You can’t take away the World Series ring from players but you can take away the meaning.

Photo: [CC BY-SA]
What made the whole situation even worse was how Jim Crane and the Astros organization responded to the report and dealt with media. Jim Crane tried to take all the heat off of him and the players by firing and essentially placing all the blame on AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow. Even though the original commissioner’s report stated that the operation was player-driven Only calling out Carlos Beltran by name. Which seems very unfair but, that’s a whole other article.

On the first day of spring training where usually only pitchers and catchers report the entire Astros team showed up for a team meeting. In that meeting, they discussed how to handle the media. The results were laughable. Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve both made separate statements that were less than 60 seconds long. Carlos Correa said the reason that Jose Altuve didn’t want his shirt ripped off was that he had an unfinished tattoo and it looked bad even though Altuve said it was because his wife didn’t want him to and that was after saying he was “shy”.

Jim Crane said that the Astros cheating “didn’t impact the game” and then less than a minute later said, “I didn’t say it didn’t impact the game”.

The entire “apology” felt disingenuous.

If you’re an optimist and you’re looking for the positives of the situation you have this. There’s going to be some must-see baseball season. Every game the Astros play on the road and even some at home is going to be intense. Can you imagine the series on the road against the Yankees? Unfortunately for baseball fans, they have to wait until September for that spicy matchup. Unfortunately, the Astros play the NL East this year so you won’t get to see them face the Dodgers in a matchup we all want. Fans in every opposing ballparks will have trash cans, or asterisk shirts, or at the very least a clever sign. MLB has a villain even more so than the NFL has in the Patriots. You’re going to want the Astros to lose more than you’re going to want the other team to win even if that other team is your favorite team.

At the end of the day, every baseball fan is pissed and rightfully so. We have had our favorite teams suffer due to the Astros. Whether it was a game in the regular season, or a game 7 loss in the ALCS, or a World Series loss. The games no matter how big or small were won in an unfair manner.  Jose Altuve keeps bringing up how talented his team was anyway but, who cares.

Clearly, you didn’t think you were good enough to win without cheating so why should we?

Featured Image: KA Sports Photos/Flickr 


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