by Hannah Begay | Boy oh boy this season has been a rough one for the Astros and we’re only 20 games in. I feel a tiny bit bad for them, but mostly I just don’t care. The Astros cheating scandal rocked the MLB in the offseason revealing numerous schemes that occurred. Yet with much displeasure, their actions went highly unpunished by commissioner Rob Manfred. The team fired manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow but only after facing severe backlash for everyone going unpunished by MLB. Each was suspended for a year, but that was the equivalency of fining an NFL lineman $50,000 for a bad hit; it’s pocket change. Alex Cora lost his job as the Red Sox manager. He wasn’t fired by MLB; he was fired by the Red Sox after receiving the same bogus one-year suspension as Hinch. Newly appointed Mets manager Carlos Beltran was also fired after he was connected to the sign-stealing scandal. He was never given a suspension, but the Mets had no choice but to part ways. They would’ve been dragged into that whole mess when they certainly didn’t need to be.
Whether or not you believe the Astros cheated or deserve the treatment they’re getting is another debate, but you had to know this was coming. There are pictures of José Altuve that show the “potential” buzzers they used under his jersey to signal pitches while in the box. In a moment of celebration, he was in the right frame of mind to tell his team not to rip off his jersey. That is just SLIGHTLY suspicious. Let’s not forget the banging of the trash cans, the main antic of the scandal. Morse code is supposed to be for an “SOS” with lights not “hey buddy here comes a slider” with a bang or two of the trashcan . There is even a picture of a laptop in the clubhouse where players would go back and look for the signs. I think it’s pretty obvious but clearly Rob Manfred thought differently or had no thought at all.
With nothing done to any of the players involved, it is no surprise that the Astros have a big target on their backs this season. Pitcher Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds began spring training taunting the Astros with a shirt that read “TRASH-TOWN”. Now Bauer has some unusual antics of his own, but right away I knew the taunting of the Astros this year was going to be good.
My favorite moment has to be the Dodgers and Astros. Now I am not saying I approve of throwing at someone’s head because that could end badly but the Joe Kelly situation was hilarious. The Astros, remember, beat the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series; the year of the suspected cheating. The Dodgers are just one of the teams that are downright livid, as they should be, that the Astros players were not punished. Dodger pitcher Joe Kelly threw at Carlos Correa just missing his head. Correa ended up striking out and on his walk off the mound Joe Kelly mocked Correa with a sarcastic boo-boo face. Correa got so offended it was downright hysterical. He started a bench clearing brawl because he couldn’t handle a little smack talk. I have some advice for the Astros: Get used to it. The whole world knows you cheated, and players are pissed. You came out with some half thought out apology at spring training that was one of the lamest and insincere things I have ever seen. So welcome to the season and Joe Kelly is my hero.
The Astros can whine all they want but they’re not helping their case. Just last week Athletics outfielder Ramon Laureano was frustrated by being hit twice in one game. He jawed with the Astros pitcher and as he reached first base, Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron felt the need to get involved. It had NOTHING to do with him, yet he must have felt like yelling and interjected, escalating the already tense situation. It is only speculation as to what was said but a comment was made about Laureano’s mom and he took offense, as he should. He charged the dugout and started a bench clearing brawl. Laureano’s suspension was reduced to four games meanwhile, an Astro was finally punished! Not for cheating, but Cintron was handed down a 20 game suspension, a full 1/3 of the 60 game season.
There have been other incidents of Astros players being thrown at or flipped off and, while it is not the most professional, you can’t blame teams for being ticked. Players work their entire lives at their craft whether it be pitching or hitting and then for someone to cheat and not be punished ruins the game. With the pictures and video MLB provided the public as to how they game to their decision to not punish any players, I think it is clear they cheated; many baseball fans see it. If you’re a baseball fan you’ll already be keeping an eye on the Trash Can Bros this season. If you’re not a fan, you’ll enjoy the action and fallout from cheating. You’ll see first-hand how players will not put up with it. The Astros are a must-watch this season for that very reason. There isn’t any actual play that makes the Astros intriguing for me to watch. It’s the pure fact some sort of retaliation will occur, and I can’t wait to see it.
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Featured image via The New York Times.