As I learn more about baseball, I learn that to a large degree it polices itself. I like that.
With that said, you need a strong commissioner who first and foremost will hold the sanctity of the game above all else. If the Astros scandal proved anything, it proved he isn’t that man.
Let me start this with an olive branch, I’m not here to attack Astros fans. Quite the opposite in fact.
I created The Screwball and Jobu Show because I want to love baseball more than I’ve ever loved any sport. I created it because I believe my own sport is dying and one fateful day back in 2018, I got to go to Fenway Park and my love for the sport has grown ever since.
At the same time though, I didn’t give baseball the amount of time it demands. I wasn’t ready to do that. I am now.
So why go back to an issue that for the majority of those linked to the Astros should be over and done with? Because it’s important.
Nothing should come above the game, nothing. I’ve seen first hand what can happen when people disrespect the game and try and bend it to their will in our “Premier League”, it’s why I decided baseball was my new home.
When Astros players came out and apologised like that “listen Linda” kid, they didn’t just let themselves down, they didn’t just let baseball down, they let their fans down.
That stain will stay with them forever. They had a chance to throw their hands up, to show a bit of class and dignity in a tough situation and instead they chose to double down.
Empowered by this disgusting attitude and a useless commissioner, many Astros fans followed suit.
Will it ruin baseball? No, of course not. The reason it won’t though is because baseball policed itself. So next time you see a fan in the stands with a trash can or you hear them booing, remember they’re meeting out the punishment the commissioner never did and they have every right to.
My personal story is one that links to this issue somewhat as a friend of mine who was a Dodgers fan passed away. He was a Sergeant in the US Army and a hell of a guy. I miss him.
He loved his baseball and among all the emotions I felt when he passed, regret and anger that he never got to see his team win a World Series were amongst them.
Obviously this wasn’t the biggest emotion but it was one I could do something about.
After he passed, I followed the Dodgers last season. I loved it. The Dodgers fans were amazing and I thank all those I met and some I now count among my friends to this day.
I got to finish the journey that Dave never did. It maybe selfishly brought me some measure of closure, although others say it was a selfless thing to do. I guess that’s up to you to decide, perception can be a tricky thing.
The cheating scandal though? It still lingers. The reason for this piece is I was told to “get over it”. This was in response to the following comment from Michael Brantley:
“We’ve been in the World Series, we’ve been in the playoffs … They can boo, they can yell, they can do whatever they want. But at the end of the day we have each other’s backs and that’s all that matters”
First of all, you don’t get to decide how people react to your indiscretions. Brantley? (Who I’m aware was not aroud when the cheating occurred) I’m sure he’d feel the same way if it was him who was cheated out of a chance at a World Series ring or it was him who lost his chance in the big leagues like Mike Bolsinger.
He reopened old wounds with his comment. Them having “each others backs” in a siege mentality is great for them, it is not however “all that matters”.
What matters is that the Astros didn’t own up to it, the commissioner gave them a pass and because of that, it won’t go away even for those that want it to!
As I say though, I don’t blame the Astros fans. They are following the lead of the organisation, fans do that. If you get as much abuse as the Astros fans have had to put up with, of course you will close ranks. I understand that fully.
I blame the man whose name I didn’t say to this point, the man who could have resolved this whole issue but instead hoped it would go away because he doesn’t seem to understand what this sport means to people.
I blame those involved with the Astros who cheated or knew about it but I blame you most of all Rob Manfred.
You are supposed to be the guardian of the sport. Cheating will happen, it always has in baseball in one for or another but it’s up to you to meet out punishment.
From how baseball fans of other teams feel cheated, to how Mike Bolsinger lost his chance in the bigs, to even how a number of Astros fans have responded to this, it’s ALL on YOU.
When the next controversy comes around – and it will – I hope you’re either better prepared having learned from this mistake, or you’re nowhere near baseball.