I seldom write an opinion piece, but this is solely my personal opinion: If you can’t believe in the integrity of the game of baseball, there is no more national pastime! If you can’t believe a team lost or won the game or a series with their talent, then why bother watching at all. Baseball then becomes a show, similar to professional wrestling and not a sport where the best team wins.
Most believe that Commissioner Manfred has handled the Astros sign-stealing situation harshly and correctly. Those that disagree think the punishments should have been even harsher. Many cite the rather small $5MM fine. Their World Series win probably netted the Astros, in ticket sales, vendors, and merchandise $30MM or more, making the penalty seem minuscule. The bottom line is that the MLB constitution only allows for a maximum fine of $5MM. What Manfred did do is hand out yearlong suspensions without pay for general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch; the loss of the team’s first- and second-round draft picks for both 2020 and 2021; a $5 million fine, and put former Assistant GM Brandon Taubman on the ineligible list. Subsequent to Manfried’s nine-page report being released, Astros Manager Jim Crane did the right thing and fired Luhnow and Hinch.
Manfred left out present Red Sox manager Alex Cora from any discipline, as the investigation into the Red Sox is ongoing. Alex Cora was the mastermind in the whole Astro sign-stealing scheme. Then as manager of the Red Sox, the 2018 World Series comes into question. Same scheme, different club. I believe that when the investigation is complete, Alex Cora will be out of baseball for good. Even if he doesn’t receive a lifetime suspension, he is damaged goods, and no one will touch him. In the case of the Red Sox, John Henry and company fired Cora when they fully understood Cora’s unquestioned involvement as laid out in Manfred’s report, even before the Red Sox investigation is complete.
The rules are clear, traditional sign stealing has gone on forever and will continue, but it can’t be done using any electronic technology. Commissioner Rob Manfred continue to do your job and protect the game we love.