Mr. Commissioner, Discipline the Players, too.
Baseball is part of my family, and it goes way back. My father played some minor league ball, one of Kris’ brothers was a top notch high school baseball player but chose basketball, my son played in the Cubs organization for five years and has been in the front office for more than a decade, and I ran a baseball camp for about a decade.
We are Cubs fans, and that says a lot. One has to like baseball to be a Cubs fan. Groans omitted.
The Astros cheating scandal, I want to say to Rob Manfred, baseball’s Commissioner, disgraces baseball, stains the reputation of everything the Astros have done over the last few years, and harms the game of baseball.
When whistleblower Mike Fiers went to The Athletic, the best news for sports, about how the Astros were decoding the catcher’s signs and then communicating the pitches to the hitters, the story broke.
An investigation happened. The Commissioner seems to have granted immunity to the perpetrators of the cheating.
The mistake the Commissioner made was to punish the GM and the Manager. Amazing.
Imagine, for our blog’s audience, that a group of adults in a church were funneling money from the church into their own pockets, their actions became known, and a denominational leader disciplined the pastor and an assistant pastor but not those who did the deed. That’s a miscarriage of justice. This, I would say, would never happen.
The Commissioner’s bad decision will not end the matter. Why?
The players on other teams will now police the actions of the Astros – and someone could get injured – because the Commissioner’s own approach was both inadequate and morally vacuous. The players who did the deed are the ones who must be punished first and foremost.
Cody Bellinger, Kris Bryant, Justin Turner, Yu Darvish, Mike Trout – they and others have made it clear that the players should be disciplined. When players want other players disciplined the Commish needs to listen. The players have clearer moral eyes than the Commissioner. They do not often speak up like this but they see the significance of the wrong the players committed.
The fans will do the same. The Astros players who are already implicated will be booed loudly every time they play. The Commissioner should also be booed.
Pete Rose is banned from baseball for gambling on baseball.
Alex Rodriguez sat for a long time for steroids.
Ryan Braun sat, too, for steroids.
Many have been disciplined for what they did.
Why? They cheated the game and the fans. They should have been disciplined.
What happened to their GMs and Managers? Nothing. Why? They didn’t do the deed.
But when the Astros cheated the game and the fans, nothing happened to the players. If I were onem of the above players (Rose, etc) I’d be barking.
In a moral universe the one who does the deed receives the discipline.
I have heard the Commissioner has said the Players Union would balk at the discipline. Let them balk and let them fight back but the game deserves disciplining the Astors to make things right. It would hurt the Astros money – 5 million was their fine, and that’s peanuts for the Astros. The pocketbook matters, invade it and discipline the Astros.
Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman cheated the game, the fans, the team, every team they beat, and they clearly overpowered some pitchers in ways that hurt the pitchers’ careers, sent some back to the minors never to return, and no doubt damaged the psyche of others enough to harm their career.
And what was the discipline for the players who did the deed? None. Absolutely none.
Let’s not be evasive here: it was more than Altuve and Bregman. It is very unlikely anyone in that dugout did not know. The whole team deserves discipline – perhaps 3 players at a time for half the season. Gut that team and make it clear that such cheating is out of line.
It makes no sense, Mr. Commissioner, to discipline the Manager and the GM and not the players. None.
What message does this send to the players? That if they get caught someone else will take the fall. That they can find new ways to cheat and will go unpunished.
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