When the revelation broke out that the Houston Astros had developed a method to steal signs over the last few years, capitalizing on them en route to a period of great success, including one World Series championship, I figured nothing substantial was really going to come from it. The evidence was pretty substantial and the fact that an active player snitched, it was a pretty foregone conclusion that the Astros were going to be busted for “cheating.”
Now I say cheating with quotes, because when the day is over, I don’t particularly think of stealing signs as cheating. It’s a part of every day baseball, except the Astros just took it a little bit further with technology; it’s still a collaborative effort for players to identify and decipher signs, and then figure out ways to relay information without the opposition realizing it. Yes, the Astros went a little bit further, utilizing a discreet live-feed camera and people banging on a trash can in the dugout tunnel, but I don’t really think it’s that much different than a baserunner on second relaying to the batter that a changeup is coming by pretending to yawn or scratch his junk.
Regardless, because baseball, among many other entities, has a revolving door of a moral compass, it was inevitable that the Astros were going to get punished for their perceived misgivings. But the thing about punishments in professional sports, is that they never really amount to anything that would stop anyone from doing them again. When the New England Patriots were accused of utilizing deflated footballs, or video taping the opposition’s sidelines, they got some fines and were penalized some draft picks; a few players like Tom Brady were suspended for a few games. But no Super Bowls were rescinded, and nothing happened to strip the Patriots of any of the six championships they’d won.
There was little reason to believe that something similar wouldn’t happen to the Astros, and just like that, such was the precise punishment: a $5 million dollar fine, which they try and make sound severe, but in an industry that rakes in billions, is a drop in the bucket for any MLB franchise. They make 8-12 times that from profit sharing alone. Plus they were penalized a few draft picks, which were inevitably going to be poor ones, because of their success over the last few years.
The 2017 World Series remains completely intact, and the Astros will always be recognized as those champions until the end of time, regardless of the fact that there were probably trash cans banged on when the Astros slugged five homers in game 5, which was one of the most exciting baseball games I’d ever seen in my life but that’s besides the point. The bottom line is that in spite of the cheating allegations, the Astros are charged some fine that’s basically pennies to them, docked some draft picks that have a way higher chance of flaming out and then going to go work for Lowe’s than making it to the big leagues; but the championship they won that coincided with the supposed cheating, well that’s fine.
Continue reading “Not really much of a punishment”