Passan: Baseball is Burning (in which Manfred calls the WS trophy a “piece of metal”

soxhop411

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Passan brings the heat in a lengthy ESPN article
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Baseball is burning. Opposing players are pummeling the Houston Astros as the fallout from their cheating scandal refuses to dissipate, and fans are frothing for vengeance after the players involved were spared from discipline by the league. Commissioner Rob Manfred is trying to wrap his arms around it all only for the anarchy to keep expanding. Every day is something new. Saturday, it was bad tattoos. Sunday, the commissioner will talk and try to explain how this all unfolded on his watch. Monday, if it came out that the Astros used furtive earpieces or Bluetooth buzzers or a robust artificial-intelligence operation to gain an advantage, it would surprise absolutely nobody.

There is no order. Just pure, distilled chaos.

It's not going away any time soon. This is a reality every person involved should learn to understand sooner than later. Not because this is some media creation that thirsts for the mother's milk of controversy and giddily gawks at the overnight transformation of Major League Baseball from the league of Charlie Chaplins into a full-flavored copy of the NBA, where no sacred cows exist. No, this is now about something much more primal: survival.
In a week, spring training games begin. The Astros will play the Washington Nationals, who beat them in the 2019 World Series. Across the sport, eyes will be trained on the game to see if Nationals pitchers intentionally throw at Astros hitters. Houston manager Dusty Baker tried to preempt any retaliation Saturday, asking MLB to do all it can to prevent premeditated beanings. It only served to draw the ire of those who see the inevitability of what is to come: a pitcher who dots an Astros hitter with a fastball to send a message that what he did is indefensible will receive a longer suspension than any of the Astros did for their indefensible acts.
Much more at the link.
Manfred Opened up a can of worms in how he handled this Astros situation and IMO I do not think he is the right commissioner to bring us out of this hole.
View: https://twitter.com/ChrisCarlin/status/1229054802686029824
View: https://youtu.be/yq1bX6F1FwU
 
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Mighty Joe Young

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Old friend Lars Andersen touches on the vengeance aspect of what is about to unfold in his article in the Athletic ..


But get ready for the uproar that’s undoubtedly coming when MLB has to discipline the pitchers this season who will be resorting to frontier, er, I mean “baseball” justice in the form of fastballs to the ribs.)
Andersen excoriates Jim Crane‘s stupid assertion about the cheating not helping.

I don’t know what Andersen is doing these days , but, judging by this article he has a future in journalism .. he can write.

When he was with the Sox he always had a reputation for being over-analytical .. and it shows here .. but its obvious he’s a pretty smart guy.

I think it’s going to be a very, very ugly season for the Astros.
 

johnmd20

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"Says it is not just based on the #Astros".

Ok.

This thing is crazy and it's only going to get crazier as the season starts. That said, baseball looks like a joke right now but I bet all this insanity helps the popularity of the April games. Scandal brings interest. Maybe that is why Manfred is handling this so stupidly? It's definitely going to generate fan engagement.

Actually, no, that cannot be the case, because Manfred is a legit idiot in how he's handled this.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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Manfred’s basic problem is that MLB didn’t discipline any players .. who, as more evidence comes out with Beltran being the ringleader, appear to have been the main driver.


I don’t think MLB players much care if the Astros front office gets disciplined .. they care because the Astros players personally cheated them .. and got off scot free.
 

Seels

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He should just step down.

I'm not exaggerating when I say between this and the Mookie thing (caused by another of his stupid decisions in the luxury tax) my baseball viewing will be cut by 95% this year.
 

Delicious Sponge

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Not defending Manfred but what should he have done?

I‘d have liked to see that every player found to be involved in this should be suspended for a year. Basically would make the Astros play with a replacement team.

Why should Hinch and Beltran and Cora be the only ones to pay a price (answer: there’s no managers’ union....)
 

jon abbey

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Not defending Manfred but what should he have done?
I don't really know the answer to this, but whatever it was, it should have been done two years ago. Maybe they needed someone like Fiers on the record, but when 10-12 teams complained about the Astros (as was reported this week), that's a lot of smoke for the commissioner to investigate and deal with, promptly, and not have two additional seasons tarnished to different degrees. .
 

bosockboy

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Probably just very difficult to prove on a player, and would bring a huge fight with MLBPA. I think the best punishment is just to vacate the title. No winner, no flags or rings. That covers everybody.
 

Van Everyman

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First off, if people are going to link Athletic articles behind a paywall as their post, can they please include some quotes? I literally have no idea what more has come out about Beltran.

I said in the other thread that Manfred hasn’t handled this like Goodell or Selig, who would have spent have their time talking about morality and The Game caring only about the PR aspect of things. By contrast I think Manfred legitimately tried to address this – first by quietly telling teams to knock it off (see: Apple Watch) and then through issuing a fairly thorough if flawed report. While there are obvious holes, I think we can all agree it’s a far cry from the Wells Report.

Even though I think Manfred has taken a far more straightforward approach, you can see why it may not play so well when you’re constrained by your bosses (one of whom is an unrepentant asshole), have limited ability to challenge the Players Union and have the drip drip drip of social media to contend with. Put another way, it doesn’t appear Manfred had an Article 11 trump card here and played the hand he was dealt.

Going forward, I’d expedite the Red Sox and Cora punishment, keep this focused on one team and draw a line at what I’d consider going forward. If you legitimately believe that you got most of the cheating with this report, or as much as you will get, then say it’s the final word and move on.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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I can't understand why the commissioners/owners have been too scared of the MLBPA to take it on over an issue like this. Like the steroid thing before, what is the union going to do? Go to the wall over the players' god-given right to cheat? Are they going to strike over something like that? Especially when a lot of actual MLB players are apparently upset with the Astros?
 

E5 Yaz

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If MLB players think this is going to stop with the Astros, they're mistaken. Players change teams all the time; more accusations about more teams will eventually come out.

Not to mention that the baseball media isn't going to let this end with one incident. Players on all teams -- particularly the outspoken guys like Bauer and Bellinger -- when they get asked about the Astros, will get asked follow-ups as to whether they think Houston was the only team in baseball that cheated. They'll be asked if they ever heard stories from new teammates about their former clubs.

This isn't going away.
 

TheDivision

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Not defending Manfred but what should he have done?

I‘d have liked to see that every player found to be involved in this should be suspended for a year. Basically would make the Astros play with a replacement team.

Why should Hinch and Beltran and Cora be the only ones to pay a price (answer: there’s no managers’ union....)
If the obstacle to player suspensions was the MLBPA then couldn’t players have some kind of internal vote and based on that vote demand that the MLBPA green light player suspensions. I doubt that they would want that, so I don’t know exactly what they want aside from making threatening comments about beaning hitters.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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The idea that the pitchers who throw at the cheating Astros hitters will get penalized, and the cheaters themselves won't, is just an intractable problem - in part because baseball has a code of the players policing the game themselves through brushback pitches or intentionally throwing at guys.

Of course the latter is disciplined but it's part of the fabric of the game - if you do certain things to the other team you should expect to get thrown at the next time you dig in.

The only way it goes away is if the Astros players are penalized. If that means Manfred backing off his stance, so be it.
 

JimD

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I think there is a lot of revisionist history going on right now, like everyone knew all along the true organization-wide scope of what the Astros were doing. I think Rob Manfred was blindsided to discover the magnitude of what was going on in Houston. Yes, other teams were complaining but without any informants he had nothing to go on, with the probably result of the Astros closing ranks and cleaning things up before he could find proof. He likely thought this was more Apple Watch-level shenanigans. Once the true scope of the scandal unfolded, the commissioner had no perfect options. He could have tried to take on the MLBPA and likely would have created a PR nightmare with lawsuits flying and multiple players reporting to spring training wondering if they'd even be able to play in 2020. He damn well couldn't have fired Crane, not unless he had a smoking gun that provided beyond a doubt that the owner was directing the scheme. So instead he hit the Astros hard, put the rest of the league on notice and is taking steps to reduce the accessibility of real-time video feeds. Manfred does need to do something more to try to rein in the circus that is now taking place, but no matter what he says there are going to be parties that are pissed-off and a media that will find a way to spin it to feed a 'Baseball in Crisis!' narrative.

Rob Manfred got the most successful GM of the 2010's and two of the most successful current managers fired. Luhnow is effectively done in baseball. That was and remains a huge f*cking deal.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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Burning? This is the best thing to happen to baseball in years. Interest in the sport has never been higher, even though it’s for all the wrong reasons. There’s no such thing as bad press. Astros Spring training games will be broadcast nationally. I’d bet anything tv ratings are up, as attention and scrutiny will be on this Astros team and other clubs as well. The league has a legitimate villain, like the Patriots. It’s complete chaos, but money will be made.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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First off, if people are going to link Athletic articles behind a paywall as their post, can they please include some quotes? I literally have no idea what more has come out about Beltran.

I said in the other thread that Manfred hasn’t handled this like Goodell or Selig, who would have spent have their time talking about morality and The Game caring only about the PR aspect of things. By contrast I think Manfred legitimately tried to address this – first by quietly telling teams to knock it off (see: Apple Watch) and then through issuing a fairly thorough if flawed report. While there are obvious holes, I think we can all agree it’s a far cry from the Wells Report.

Even though I think Manfred has taken a far more straightforward approach, you can see why it may not play so well when you’re constrained by your bosses (one of whom is an unrepentant asshole), have limited ability to challenge the Players Union and have the drip drip drip of social media to contend with. Put another way, it doesn’t appear Manfred had an Article 11 trump card here and played the hand he was dealt.

Going forward, I’d expedite the Red Sox and Cora punishment, keep this focused on one team and draw a line at what I’d consider going forward. If you legitimately believe that you got most of the cheating with this report, or as much as you will get, then say it’s the final word and move on.
Sorry about that .. just got the athletic subscription ( it’s great!) and I forgot about the paywall ..
lots of stuff like this ..

The Astros during home games would use a video monitor positioned near the dugout to decode signs from a center-field camera, then bang on a trash can to alert the hitter to which pitch was coming. They used a different system on the road, decoding signs during games from feeds to the video replay room, then relaying the sequences from the replay room to the dugout to a runner at second base to the hitter.
“I was in my first year, man,” former Astros pitcher Joe Musgrove, now with the Pirates, said in a Jan. 24 interview on MLB Network. “Along with (Alex) Bregman and a lot of those guys, and in your first year in the big leagues you’re around guys like Beltrán and (Brian) McCann, some big names. And I’m not going to be the pitcher to walk up and tell ‘em to knock it off.”
Both McCann and Beltrán played for the Yankees during the 2014, ’15 and ’16 seasons before joining the Astros in ’17. But it was Beltrán who, according to multiple sources, told the Astros that their sign-stealing methods were “behind the times.”
During the season, small groups of Astros discussed their misgivings. McCann at one point approached Beltrán and asked him to stop, two members of the 2017 team said.
“He disregarded it and steamrolled everybody,” one of the team members said. “Where do you go if you’re a young, impressionable player with the Astros and this guy says, ‘We’re doing this’? What do you do?”
Beltrán did not respond to a request for comment. Half a dozen members of the 2017 team interviewed by The Athletic for this story spoke on the condition of anonymity.
 

loshjott

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Burning? This is the best thing to happen to baseball in years. Interest in the sport has never been higher, even though it’s for all the wrong reasons. There’s no such thing as bad press. Astros Spring training games will be broadcast nationally. I’d bet anything tv ratings are up, as attention and scrutiny will be on this Astros team and other clubs as well. The league has a legitimate villain, like the Patriots. It’s complete chaos, but money will be made.
I was thinking the same thing. People are talking about Spring training for the first time in forever.
 

canderson

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Burning? This is the best thing to happen to baseball in years. Interest in the sport has never been higher, even though it’s for all the wrong reasons. There’s no such thing as bad press. Astros Spring training games will be broadcast nationally. I’d bet anything tv ratings are up, as attention and scrutiny will be on this Astros team and other clubs as well. The league has a legitimate villain, like the Patriots. It’s complete chaos, but money will be made.
Eh I’m not sure if the car crash viewERs turn into butts in seats or MLB.tv subs. I think it’ll be a net loss overall.

For me, it is. I’m canceling EI abd probably don’t but MLB.tv. I”LL follow the Six but they’re on espn and MLBN so much I am going to see how much I miss watchung every night. I have a feeling I won’t. Part Mookie, part mlb, part trading for a scumbag.
 
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DJnVa

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I'm here for the hate on the Astros and even the "holier than thou" ballplayers, because it's all entertaining to me.

However, remember when Verlander was holier than thou about PEDs or whatever? I bet some of these ballplayers would be better off just playing the game.
 

soxhop411

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View: https://twitter.com/BillPlaschke/status/1229151657893580800


Manfred calls the WS trophy a piece of metal.

a piece of metal that every kid growing up dreams of holding

a piece of metal that 30 teams fight for over 162 games to have the honor of winning.

I could go on.....

Could you imagine Bettman calling the Stanley Cup a piece of metal? He would be run out of Canada by a Mob of angry Canadians

the commissioner of baseball is devaluing his own sports trophy!
 

gryoung

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Taking away the WS title from the Astros appeals to me personally, but the potential issues that act would create is likely a significant reason why MLB hasn’t and won’t do it.

Houston season ticket holders sue the team.

Folks who placed legitimate bets in Vegas sue the team and MLB.

Casinos sue MLB.

Sponsors sue the team.

And on and on and on. What a cluster.
 

BaseballJones

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You can't give the title back. I've always thought it was dumb for the NCAA, for example, to take away UMass' final four appearance during the Calipari years. I mean...they DID get there. We saw it happen in real time. So they keep their title (or FF appearance, or whatever it is), but with an asterisk. A legitimate asterisk. Not a "we had a guy doing steroids" asterisk. But a "look, this team was engaged in an organization-wide scheme to cheat, from players all the way up through the GM" asterisk. So everyone remembers, for all time, that, yes they won the championship...BUT..............
 

crow216

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I don't know if i agree with any of your assumptions on those lawsuits? Why would Vegas or any Casinos sue? The bets stand. Why would Houston season ticket holders sue? They still receive tickets and were never guaranteed a WS or value. Sponsors can't sue either, they still gained revenue. They may drop as a sponsor, as is their right, but suing wouldn't make much sense to me.

Could be wrong but I don't see these as reasons not to strip the title. For me, the biggest reason not to strip the title is the MLB shares in the blame here too. They implemented a system with poor oversight and watched it get exploited for 4 years. A lot more banks would be robbed if they left cash by the door instead of in the vault.
 

Van Everyman

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I think there is a lot of revisionist history going on right now, like everyone knew all along the true organization-wide scope of what the Astros were doing. I think Rob Manfred was blindsided to discover the magnitude of what was going on in Houston. Yes, other teams were complaining but without any informants he had nothing to go on, with the probably result of the Astros closing ranks and cleaning things up before he could find proof. He likely thought this was more Apple Watch-level shenanigans. Once the true scope of the scandal unfolded, the commissioner had no perfect options. He could have tried to take on the MLBPA and likely would have created a PR nightmare with lawsuits flying and multiple players reporting to spring training wondering if they'd even be able to play in 2020. He damn well couldn't have fired Crane, not unless he had a smoking gun that provided beyond a doubt that the owner was directing the scheme. So instead he hit the Astros hard, put the rest of the league on notice and is taking steps to reduce the accessibility of real-time video feeds. Manfred does need to do something more to try to rein in the circus that is now taking place, but no matter what he says there are going to be parties that are pissed-off and a media that will find a way to spin it to feed a 'Baseball in Crisis!' narrative.

Rob Manfred got the most successful GM of the 2010's and two of the most successful current managers fired. Luhnow is effectively done in baseball. That was and remains a huge f*cking deal.
This is pretty much where I am.

I get that everyone is frustrated with how this is dragging on and on but MLB had to thread a needle here. Manfred doesn’t have an Article 46/“Protect the Integrity of the Game” clause he can draw on here to impose punishment that allows him to go outside the proscribed mandate of the CBA punishment procedures. We all collectively lost our minds when Goodell abused that power in #DFG – and I’m not sure we want it in these cases.

As for what powers the commissioner should have, Manfred has also said he is working w the MLBPA to change the rules on player punishment for this sort of thing going forward. We can debate whether that’s all too late but the fact is, no team to our knowledge has ever had a team-wise brazen effort like the one he just investigated.
 

bankshot1

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The Astros won the '17 WS.

What they didn't do was win it fair and square.

There will always be the doubt and shame associated with that team.

But IMO you don't give a title to the loser 2 years later.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Manfred was dumb to issue any specific guidance about throwing at Astros players. That should be policed like any other HBP - if it’s obviously intentional, the teams are warned and then ejections/suspensions follow if it continues in that game or series. If that results in a few more Astros players being hit this year than otherwise, well, they kind of made their bed on that one.

The talk of vacating titles is and always has been nothing more than the usual crybaby stuff from the LA media. Unless I’m mistaken there is no clamoring from within baseball itself (either players or management) for any such action. That said Manfred’s “piece of metal” comment was probably the worst possible way to address the issue.

Basically, I think he actually handled the underlying investigation and punishment about as well as could be hoped but is slowly digging himself into a hole with some of the stuff he has said/done since then.
 

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HowBoutDemSox

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What changes does Manfred need to discipline any player his investigations find was cheating? The CBA (Article XII, Section B) says:
Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of Baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of fed- eral, state or local law.
The MLBPA has rights to file grievances, of course, but that’s true for any discipline imposed and I don’t see them giving up that right. So, what needs to change? Something more like steroids where there is a defined number of games a player gets suspended? That’s hard to do unless we can think, ahead of time, every possible way to cheat and assign an agreed upon punishment, which is obviously impossible.

If Manfred doesn’t want to punish players for prudential reasons, that’s one thing, and a different debate, but not punishing them because he doesn’t have the authority doesn’t make much sense.
 

BaseballJones

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The Astros won the '17 WS.

What they didn't do was win it fair and square.

There will always be the doubt and shame associated with that team.

But IMO you don't give a title to the loser 2 years later.
It's one thing to have Houston vacate the title. It's another thing entirely to give it to the WS loser (in this case, LAD). I mean, without the Astros cheating, who's to say that the Red Sox - who were eliminated by the Astros after their cheating helped them batter Chris Sale, for example - wouldn't have gone on to win the WS?
 

shaggydog2000

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It's one thing to have Houston vacate the title. It's another thing entirely to give it to the WS loser (in this case, LAD). I mean, without the Astros cheating, who's to say that the Red Sox - who were eliminated by the Astros after their cheating helped them batter Chris Sale, for example - wouldn't have gone on to win the WS?
And for what purpose in the end? So that actual real life memories won't line up with a record book? If you gave it to LA and told them they ended a 30+ year championship drought (before it even hit 30 years somehow), do you think the fans, owners, or players would look at it that way? Would they hold a delayed parade? Have a banner hanging ceremony? Tell the kids about the thrill of watching your team win a championship by having a commissioner read a piece of paper during a press conference?

It's a crap experience that would confuse everyone and please no one.
 

bankshot1

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It's one thing to have Houston vacate the title. It's another thing entirely to give it to the WS loser (in this case, LAD). I mean, without the Astros cheating, who's to say that the Red Sox - who were eliminated by the Astros after their cheating helped them batter Chris Sale, for example - wouldn't have gone on to win the WS?
I understand the point and considered it, the problem is I can't determine or pinpoint how much the sign stealing contributed to the game outcomes. It sucks for baseball and fans. But the Astro's cheated.

But its probably not the first time a WS winner cheated.

Should we vacate all the titles of the steroid era? Did some teams cheat more than others?

How about if the Astro's have to fly a Pirate flag instead of a '17 WS banner?
 

BaseballJones

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I understand the point and considered it, the problem is I can't determine or pinpoint how much the sign stealing contributed to the game outcomes. It sucks for baseball and fans. But the Astro's cheated.

But its probably not the first time a WS winner cheated.

Should we vacate all the titles of the steroid era? Did some teams cheat more than others?

How about if the Astro's have to fly a Pirate flag instead of a '17 WS banner?
It doesn't matter if we know how much it contributed to their victory. To me, there's an ENORMOUS difference between a team where some guys used steroids and an organization-wide effort to develop a system to cheat, that included people at every level - the players, the coaches, upper management, and even tech guys. Let them keep the title. Just put an asterisk next to it.
 

The Gray Eagle

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This talk of vacating the title is moronic. First go back and take away the 1951 Giants pennant and "The Shot Heard Round the World". They used a similar scheme with technology to steal signs and greatly benefited from it. There's no outcry to strip them from the record books.

It would be stupid to do that too. It happened. They got away with it. We don't have a time machine. It's over.

Many other teams have cheated in many ways and won titles, and you're never going to know all the ones who did or even how they cheated. Baseball teams have been breaking the rules ever since there were rules. If they don't get caught till after the season is over, it's too late to change the results. Punish them, but you can't change what's already happened.
 

bankshot1

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It doesn't matter if we know how much it contributed to their victory. To me, there's an ENORMOUS difference between a team where some guys used steroids and an organization-wide effort to develop a system to cheat, that included people at every level - the players, the coaches, upper management, and even tech guys. Let them keep the title. Just put an asterisk next to it.
It already has an asterisk, its implied but its there.

I like flying the Jolly Roger instead of the '17 banner.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Manfred should just step down at this point. He could not possibly make this any worse, yet he seems to be trying.
 

johnmd20

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Manfred should just step down at this point. He could not possibly make this any worse, yet he seems to be trying.
This is a lesson in damage control. In that, every time Mandred or an Astro has opened their mouths, they have not controlled any of the damage, they have just added more damage.
 

tims4wins

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Justin Turner loved the comments

"I don't know if the commissioner has ever won anything in his life," Turner told reporters Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times. "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.

"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."
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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It all comes down to the free pass for the players. That was Manfred's colossal fuck up, and everything waterfalls from there. The players who feel like they got cheated now feel like the cheaters got away - and will forever get away - with it scot-free, and that's just not going to sit well with them.

I get his dilemma: How do you punish them all? How do you know who participated and who didn't? But it seems similar to a bean brawl to me. Even though the benches both clear, only a couple of egregious actors ever get suspensions and fines. Same thing here - Manfred should have picked out a couple of ringleaders and fined/suspended them. Let them appeal, whatever, but ultimately make at least a few players pay the piper.

That would have made a huge difference. Non-Astros players wouldn't have been totally happy, but they would have felt at least some justice had been done. This way? Not at all. I don't think players give a shit about punishments for GMs, coaches, etc. Who cares? You don't play against those guys. They don't get hits off you. They don't beat you. It's the other players, and if the other players are cheating you in a lame way like that, you want to see them punished. If they're not, that's got to burn.

I'm glad to see Trout, et al, letting off a little steam. In some ways, it's the best thing to happen to baseball in years, as we finally get to see players not being automatons. We need more rivalry in the game, more general dislike. I think we're going to get it this year.

But Manfred needs to go. He's bolloxed this really badly.
 

djbayko

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I don't know if i agree with any of your assumptions on those lawsuits? Why would Vegas or any Casinos sue? The bets stand. Why would Houston season ticket holders sue? They still receive tickets and were never guaranteed a WS or value. Sponsors can't sue either, they still gained revenue. They may drop as a sponsor, as is their right, but suing wouldn't make much sense to me.

Could be wrong but I don't see these as reasons not to strip the title. For me, the biggest reason not to strip the title is the MLB shares in the blame here too. They implemented a system with poor oversight and watched it get exploited for 4 years. A lot more banks would be robbed if they left cash by the door instead of in the vault.
Yeah, I don't see why there would be all these lawsuits. either. Maybe you get one or two crackpots who are quickly thrown out of court. There have been titles vacated in other sports / leagues. Have we seen this issue there?
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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Jan 2, 2006
5,372
NJ
Taking the trophy away is just silly, but if they were not prepared to do what they did with in the BPL for example with Manchester City (2 year ban on the playoffs) then they should have suspended the Astros offensive players. Maybe prorate the suspensions based on whatever evidence they had that let them estimate how often each particular hitter had used the trash can system. So, for example, maybe 20 games for Altuve (who is apparently low on the list) and 80 games for guys like Springer, Correa, etc.

Now you are going to get some pitcher who will hit an Astro player, and wind up suspended, which is going to be a disaster.
 

Hoya81

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Feb 3, 2010
4,483
Yeah, I don't see why there would be all these lawsuits. either. Maybe you get one or two crackpots who are quickly thrown out of court. There have been titles vacated in other sports / leagues. Have we seen this issue there?
Not all of them get dismissed so quickly. A number of the Saints fan lawsuits about the NFCCG non-call that grounded through the state courts for months. There was a Spygate lawsuit against the Patriots by a Jets season ticket holder that wasn’t resolved until 2011.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Silver Supporter
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Sep 27, 2016
11,503
How about if the Astro's have to fly a Pirate flag instead of a '17 WS banner?
Reading this silly thread was worth it just for this line. Sign me right up. Their fans would love it, too.

It all comes down to the free pass for the players. That was Manfred's colossal fuck up, and everything waterfalls from there. The players who feel like they got cheated now feel like the cheaters got away - and will forever get away - with it scot-free, and that's just not going to sit well with them.

I get his dilemma: How do you punish them all? How do you know who participated and who didn't? But it seems similar to a bean brawl to me. Even though the benches both clear, only a couple of egregious actors ever get suspensions and fines. Same thing here - Manfred should have picked out a couple of ringleaders and fined/suspended them. Let them appeal, whatever, but ultimately make at least a few players pay the piper.
Forget "who participated and who didn't", the even-thornier issue would be the affirmative defenses: The coaches and front office told me to do it, what the hell was I supposed to do? Quit the team, ask for my release? Be branded a traitor, quitter, not-a-team-player, for the rest of my career if I even have a career going forward?

If management is complicit, I don't see how you can fairly punish the players for just-following-orders. Post-Vietnam, we now have legislation to the effect that that is no longer a defense in the military - commit a crime, even if ordered to do so, and you're liable. You're supposed to refuse an illegal order and place your commanding officer under arrest. Imagine how awkward THAT is, if and when it happens. And even still, it doesn't really happen.

And that's over matters of life and death. Now translate that to the video-replay booth up the dugout walkway towards the clubhouse. The stakes may feel high, but realistically they're rather low. The rights are collectively-bargained, the players are making millions. They're supposed to jeopardize their careers, camaraderie and reputation (not to mention that gravy train) out of their conscience and sense of fair play? This isn't a black-and-white, everyone-knows-the-drill issue either, like gambling or PEDs or even applying a substance to the ball. This is technological arms-race that has been going on since organized baseball has existed. The Astros stepped way over the line, were too clever by half, they paid for it. But bringing the players in on that with punishment, for something they had no realistic way to prevent or refuse... that seems like your thirst for blood has exceeded rational bounds, man.
 
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Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Dec 19, 2009
5,641
The Astros players, much like those who have played for the Patiots throughout the post-Spygate and post-Deflategate years, will be forever branded cheaters and everything they do will be looked at under a microscope. Any player having an MVP season or CYA season may have to do something truly historic to overcome that bias when it comes voting time. Same for potential All-Star selections. I'm also willing to bet a lot of numbers for the players there will trend sharply downward this season, even if only a slight dip for some, because they'll have to go back to relying on their own instincts and not a one of them is good enough to replicate what they did with the help.

They will be scorned and ridiculed for all their remaining years.

The 2017 World Series Champions will be a punchline for that franchise forever and every single fan will look at it knowing that it is tainted in some way, shape, form, or fashion.

To me, that's a far harsher punishment than telling someone to take a year off without pay or stripping the title (if we're going to start stripping titles, there are going to be a LOT of seasons across all the sports where, suddenly, nobody officially won and that just looks dumb. It's dumb when the NCAA does it and it would be even dumber for a pro sports league to do it. What happened, happened. Call it what it was and move on.

That said, if baseball players are thinking of throwing at guys out of some half-assed idea of revenge for things that happened 2+ seasons ago, that's its own brand of stupid. Plunking Alex Bregman in the ribs isn't going to undo his homeruns or backbreaking hits. Also, the system only helped on offense, no defense: do you say that the losses are real losses but the wins are also losses? That's stupid. Turn the page and prevent it from happening again. No one spoke about taking away that Broncos Super Bowl after it came out that they'd gimmicked their salary numbers to get in under the cap despite not actually being under the cap and, to me, that is a far more egregious offense than decoding signs and tipping each other off about pitches using sound effects. You still have to make contact, still have to hope the defender(s) don't make plays, and have to hope your pitching staff doesn't get its brains bashed in for it to really count.

Besides, if the Lakers didn't have to give up the title that mobbed-up refs helped win them, why should a team without any assistance from organized crime be treated more harshly?
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
23,357
Hingham, MA
The Astros players, much like those who have played for the Patiots throughout the post-Spygate and post-Deflategate years, will be forever branded cheaters and everything they do will be looked at under a microscope. Any player having an MVP season or CYA season may have to do something truly historic to overcome that bias when it comes voting time. Same for potential All-Star selections. I'm also willing to bet a lot of numbers for the players there will trend sharply downward this season, even if only a slight dip for some, because they'll have to go back to relying on their own instincts and not a one of them is good enough to replicate what they did with the help.

They will be scorned and ridiculed for all their remaining years.

The 2017 World Series Champions will be a punchline for that franchise forever and every single fan will look at it knowing that it is tainted in some way, shape, form, or fashion.

To me, that's a far harsher punishment than telling someone to take a year off without pay or stripping the title (if we're going to start stripping titles, there are going to be a LOT of seasons across all the sports where, suddenly, nobody officially won and that just looks dumb. It's dumb when the NCAA does it and it would be even dumber for a pro sports league to do it. What happened, happened. Call it what it was and move on.

That said, if baseball players are thinking of throwing at guys out of some half-assed idea of revenge for things that happened 2+ seasons ago, that's its own brand of stupid. Plunking Alex Bregman in the ribs isn't going to undo his homeruns or backbreaking hits. Also, the system only helped on offense, no defense: do you say that the losses are real losses but the wins are also losses? That's stupid. Turn the page and prevent it from happening again. No one spoke about taking away that Broncos Super Bowl after it came out that they'd gimmicked their salary numbers to get in under the cap despite not actually being under the cap and, to me, that is a far more egregious offense than decoding signs and tipping each other off about pitches using sound effects. You still have to make contact, still have to hope the defender(s) don't make plays, and have to hope your pitching staff doesn't get its brains bashed in for it to really count.

Besides, if the Lakers didn't have to give up the title that mobbed-up refs helped win them, why should a team without any assistance from organized crime be treated more harshly?
Tom Brady literally won the MVP the year after he was suspended. And the year he was suspended he didn't win it only because he only played 12 games (28-2 TD-INT).

I don't buy that all Patriots players are forever branded cheaters. Mouth breathers might call them the Cheatriots. But I don't think that the generally believed story of the Pats is they cheated their way to six titles (or 3, or however many).

Whereas the Astros did, conclusively, cheat. And therefore the players should forever be branded cheaters. And they will, unless it is proven that literally everyone else was doing this too. But by the sound of how other teams are reacting, that does not seem to be the case.

Edit: I also couldn't disagree more with the Broncos analogy. They cheated the cap, which resulted in better players, but those players went out and won against their competition. The Astros actually cheated ON THE FIELD.
 

Kliq

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Mar 31, 2013
11,489
I'm all for putting the screws to Houston, but the Dodger players like Turner whining about Houston costing them a title are some delicious tears. A bunch of losers (sorry Mookie).
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
7,895
Tom Brady literally won the MVP the year after he was suspended. And the year he was suspended he didn't win it only because he only played 12 games (28-2 TD-INT).

I don't buy that all Patriots players are forever branded cheaters. Mouth breathers might call them the Cheatriots. But I don't think that the generally believed story of the Pats is they cheated their way to six titles (or 3, or however many).

Whereas the Astros did, conclusively, cheat. And therefore the players should forever be branded cheaters. And they will, unless it is proven that literally everyone else was doing this too. But by the sound of how other teams are reacting, that does not seem to be the case.

Edit: I also couldn't disagree more with the Broncos analogy. They cheated the cap, which resulted in better players, but those players went out and won against their competition. The Astros actually cheated ON THE FIELD.
The Patriots comparison is silly - except insofar as for the general fan population out there they can say that both the Astros and Patriots used illegal electronic signal stealing techniques to help them win championships. Deflategate is, of course, utter absurd nonsense, and anyone who actually puts two seconds of thought into it knows it's a pile of nonsense. Honestly. But Spygate was a real breaking of the rules. However, the Patriots only ever used it for future reference, no indication that they ever used that information in real time. Moreover, it was a management thing. There's no way that Tom Brady or Logan Mankins were actively involved in that.

This Astros thing? A totally different animal, in every which way. From the upper levels of management all through the coaching staff down to the players themselves - this was a holistic, comprehensive team effort. And it was used in real time, helping hitters *in the moment* know whether a fastball was coming or not.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Dec 19, 2009
5,641
I agree that all the "Cheatriots" stuff is dumb, but my point was that public perception, right or wrong, is that they are successful because they bend, in some cases break, rules that every other team (as far as people assume) obey without question. The Astros will be looked at askance for years to come under the same auspices, perhaps more so because it's fewer guys and all indications are that it was a player-driven thing that the coaching stuff begrudgingly went along with, whereas all we've heard about the Pats' scandals is that it was coach-driven, with few (if any) players being aware.

As far as my Broncos comparison, yes, they won on the field. But the point is they should not have been allowed to play as constituted; their cheating allowed them to put a team on the field that otherwise would not have had that level of talent and ability up and down the roster. If you take out one player from that team to get them under the cap, it's dubious as to whether they enjoy the same success since that's one more body (theoretically possessing less talent based on value) the team would have to sign, if it even had room to do that. It is a domino effect that basically allowed them to field a "modded" team (for lack of a better term) while everyone else fielded teams that had lesser talent at positions where the Broncos may have been more reinforced. I know that's why the play the games and all that, but the cap is the cap and cooking the books to make your team of all-stars eligible to play while everyone else was balancing their books gives a distinct competitive advantage to the team doing it. To me, it'll always be worse because it was done solely to make sure the Broncos had no excuse to not win it all.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
23,357
Hingham, MA
I agree that all the "Cheatriots" stuff is dumb, but my point was that public perception, right or wrong, is that they are successful because they bend, in some cases break, rules that every other team (as far as people assume) obey without question. The Astros will be looked at askance for years to come under the same auspices, perhaps more so because it's fewer guys and all indications are that it was a player-driven thing that the coaching stuff begrudgingly went along with, whereas all we've heard about the Pats' scandals is that it was coach-driven, with few (if any) players being aware.

As far as my Broncos comparison, yes, they won on the field. But the point is they should not have been allowed to play as constituted; their cheating allowed them to put a team on the field that otherwise would not have had that level of talent and ability up and down the roster. If you take out one player from that team to get them under the cap, it's dubious as to whether they enjoy the same success since that's one more body (theoretically possessing less talent based on value) the team would have to sign, if it even had room to do that. It is a domino effect that basically allowed them to field a "modded" team (for lack of a better term) while everyone else fielded teams that had lesser talent at positions where the Broncos may have been more reinforced. I know that's why the play the games and all that, but the cap is the cap and cooking the books to make your team of all-stars eligible to play while everyone else was balancing their books gives a distinct competitive advantage to the team doing it. To me, it'll always be worse because it was done solely to make sure the Broncos had no excuse to not win it all.
Sorry, still not buying it. Ty Law was just inducted into the Hall of Fame. I didn’t see a single mention that his 3 rings might be tainted, or a single reference to Spygate in any article written about him leading up to and after his induction.

When Correa or Altuve or Bregman or whoever else come up on the baseball hall of fame ballot, you can bet your ass that this sign stealing controversy is going to be talked about.