The View From THE CHEAP SEATS: A Metal's Worth
The smell of fresh-cut grass is in the air, and ‘Play Ball’ will echo through the Grapefruit League today. A rematch of last year’s World Series today would normally be the theme that would dominate Spring Training, but that angle is lost. Whispers, boos and heckles for the tainted three year run by the Houston Astros, will drown-out any applause Astros players might get from their crowd at their Florida home field. A shameful way to begin the spring.
The defending World Series Champion Nationals do not deserve to be pushed aside on opening day of the 2020 spring training season. Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Juan Soto envisioned a different debut for their title defense. The glow of a World Series trophy, even if it is just a piece of metal to some, is usually so bright, the losing team stands out of the spotlight on a day like today. Instead, a much larger shadow will loom over this game, for both involved, and the meaning of what Washington was able to do.
The Nationals were able to make a historical run in the playoffs, and do it against the recently acknowledged Astros as a mini-dynasty. That was until the Astros Cheating Scandal came to be known. We should now look at this as an even more impressive feat by Washington. No matter the claims, we just simply don’t believe the cheating ended in 2017.
Why would the cheating stop? Cheating usually only stops when the cheater gets caught. Are we supposed to buy that the entire front office and team finally grew a conscience? Awwwwwe Horse-hockey!
In 2018 they were only defeated by a team that was allegedly just as dirty in Boston. The answer is coming this week to all of those questions. The odd statistic from the 2019 series is that Houston played much better on the road than in the cheating-friendly confines of Minute Maid Park. So, had the cheating stopped, or were the Nationals much more cautious on the road amongst the rumors Mike Fiers had began. Only the Astros truly know, but the court of public opinion has reigned down regardless.
A proposed censure will not do the justice the fans seek. The suspensions that should’ve been laid down, appear to no longer be an option. Tony Clark, head of the players union, is as much to blame for this as Commissioner Manfred. The two are both out of touch of what the vast majority of the players would have wanted. There is only one way to clean this up. Vacate the 2017 World Series Championship (and if warranted the 2018 from Boston as well).
It’s not just a piece of metal. It’s what this game is all about. Rob Manfred’s apology might have seemed sincere, and accepted by the national media, but it was also too little too late for the fans that feel betrayed by the entire game. When those words ‘a piece of metal’ were uttered by the game’s commissioner, he revealed his true colors. He’s just another lawyer & business man that isn’t the fan the game needs right now. When Judge Mountain Landis expelled the Black Sox, and when Bart Giamatti did the same to Pete Rose, the theme was to uphold the integrity of the game. Uphold it at all costs. The Astros are no different.
Strip the title or resign commissioner. This is where we are today. Ensuring this never happens again, and taking away the reason it was all done is the focus. If you were commissioner, and had already made more money than you’ll ever need, your singular focus would be on the preservation of the game, and your lasting legacy. Why is his not? Labor peace is great, but the pure sportsmanship, and the honor being sustained, will write the true annals of history.
Baseball fans are the purist and most dedicated of all sports fans. Numbers matter. More than in any other walk of life in the sports world. Pennants are sacred. The Yankees 27 championships are just as important to them, as the Chicago Cubs winning for the 1st time in over 100 year. Cleveland is still looking for their first since 1948, Atlanta hasn’t won in 25 years, and several teams have never hoisted the Commissioner’s Trophy. Players, kids and adults cry in the stands, and at home or on the streets, when their beloved team finally gets a title after a long drought. Just a piece of metal indeed.
Stripping the title, is not just from the history books, but also any sign and pennant hanging at Minute Maid would speak louder than any suspension.
IT IS THEIR ONLY WORLD SERIES TITLE!
Wiping the slate clean would be both a deterrent and a life-long punishment. The Astros ownership and organization would never get that championship back. Nor should they.
Rob Manfred it is not you who should be giving us rhetorical questions, to ‘prove a point’; it is us to you:
‘Commissioner Manfred, how is letting the Houston Astros (and possibly the Boston Redsox) keep their Championship going to help preserve the integrity of the game and rebuild trust from your fans?