Today is Valentine’s Day. Somehow in the present US, the tradition of Valentine’s Day as an occasion to honor romantic love got linked to the decapitation of a priest who is also the patron saint of epilepsy almost 1800 years ago. Happy Valentine’s Day anyway…
Yesterday saw the public humiliation of the Houston Astros as they publicly apologized for the sign-stealing fiasco. The unmitigated cynic would say that they were sorry only for getting caught; of course they are sorry it all came to light – but maybe some of the folks there might realize what they did went beyond the normal and accepted forms of sign-stealing that exist in baseball. I’m willing to accept that as a possibility despite having listened to some of the blandest apologies imaginable and a question-and-answer interchange that was even less illuminating than a typical Congressional hearing.
- Let me say that yesterday’s questioning by the media was uninspired. Perry Mason’s place as an icon of incisive interrogation is in no danger this morning.
- Let me say that the answers provided by the Astros owner were as unresponsive as Jimmy Hoffa would be should someone find him this afternoon.
The poohbahs in MLB want ever so much to put a lid on this mess – – but that is not going to happen anytime soon.
- There is still the Commissioner’s “investigation” of Red Sox involvement here.
- There are rumors out there that when Carlos Beltran arrived in Houston, he told the Astros’ folks that they were behind the curve in terms of sign stealing (Beltran had been with 6 teams in addition to the Astros).
- We know that the Cardinals have been involved in electronic cheating since one of their guys hacked into the Astros’ database of personnel several years ago. (Ironically, the victim of that hack was Jeff Luhnow who is a central figure of this current mess.)
- One player has alleged that the White Sox were doing similar things as far back as the 1980s.
- Drip … drip … drip.
Here is real question for Commissioner Manfred as of today:
- If you discover that a team – or a group of players/coaches within a team – are engaged in another “unacceptable” sign-stealing scheme three months from now, will they be banned from baseball for life?
If the Commish will not answer that question with an unqualified “Yes!”, then this problem will not go away. Even if he does answer in that fashion, it may resurface in the future, but a waffling answer here almost guarantees it will come back to bite MLB in the fanny somewhere down the road.
But hey, yesterday’s Meae Maximae Culpae could have been worse. Here’s one way:
- As each member of the press corps got up to identify their affiliation and ask their nominally penetrating question, there could have been someone in the back banging on a trashcan in a coded way to “indicate the upcoming question”.
Come to think of it, if the Astros’ brass had done that, it might have been the most memorable part of yesterday’s “event” …
Another bit of fallout from the sign-stealing scandal is that a former MLB pitcher is suing the Astros in Federal Court alleging that their sign stealing cost him his MLB career. Mike Bolsinger filed his suit in Los Angeles, and he is demanding a jury trial there. [Aside: Be sure to eliminate all Dodgers’ fans from the jury in the voir dire process.] He is asking for the Astros to donate the $31M the team in aggregate earned from winning the World Series to “charities that focus on the betterment of children’s lives in Los Angeles and that assist elderly retired pro ballplayers who face financial turmoil.”
Having exactly no legal expertise at all, I have no idea if this suit will survive the almost certain “motion to dismiss” that will come from the Astros’ representatives; but if I were a young attorney in LA, I would not be anxious to take on this case on a contingent fee basis.
In NFL news related to actions involving the Commissioner’s Office, Myles Garrett has been reinstated by Roger Goodell. Garrett was indefinitely suspended about halfway through last season after the infamous “helmet-swinging fracas” between him and Mason Rudolph. His $50K fine for his part in that incident was upheld proximal to the time of his reinstatement. Garrett has maintained from the start that Rudolph called him a stupid N-word and that is what triggered his aggression. Rudolph just as vehemently denies doing any such thing. So, that settles all that business…
By all accounts, that violent outburst is out-of-character for Garrett; nonetheless, it happened and there is no ambiguity about the degree of purposeful violence involved in the incident. Garrett and the Browns will play Rudolph and the Steelers twice next year. [Aside: Steelers’ fans hope that Ben Roethlisberger will be the QB for those two games and not Rudolph.] I would definitely circle the first of those games on the calendar once the NFL releases the official schedule for the 2020 season.
Finally, a note about the upcoming weekend from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“Idle thought: With the NBA’s All-Star weekend upon us, I’m old enough to remember when the slam-dunk contest was a curiosity worth a look.”
And, I’m older than Bob Molinaro.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………