Your loyal servant, Dan P, is sick of “it” at this point. “It” of course being the interminable and depressing Astros cheating scandal.
My mind keeps drifting back to the movie “Speed” and a line that Dennis Hopper as cop turned bomber Howard Payne says. “A bomb is made to explode. That’s its meaning. Its purpose. Your life is empty because you spend it trying to stop the bomb from becoming.”
I feel a bit empty lately because I want this story to stop. I want to stop it from becoming. But it is like when the Cat in the Hat is trying to clean up the house and instead he keeps spreading the dirt more and more. This story is a wildfire that is not getting put out any time soon, because the media loves “clicks” and it is not to the media’s benefit (read bottom line) to wrap this up and move on to another story.
It is also a story for which it is easy to keep fanning the flames. You think you can end it by letting AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow go? No. Because every day they are looking for a replacement, every day they are bringing in another candidate it will get mentioned. Will hiring their replacements bring it to an end? No. Because then you have to talk to the replacements about it and you have to try and see if someone not named Hinch and Luhnow shares in the blame (players/Crane), Will having the players do a very controlled apology press conference followed by a wide open locker room for interviews end it? No. Because everything that is said or not said is parsed and dissected by the media who were there or were reading the Cliff Notes second hand. Will playing exhibition games end it? No. Especially when you lead off with the 2019 WS Nationals. Will starting the season end it? No. Every time you play someone you played in the playoffs (or within a hundred miles of someone you played in the playoffs), it will get brought up. Every time you play a team where a former player now resides it will get brought up. Every time you play some team or player who thinks they suffered something at your hands since 2016 (or even before) it will be brought up. Will making the playoffs or even winning the World Series end it? No. The media has found nice fresh meat and they will ride this story as long as there are folks fired up and incensed about this. There will be folks who think if they win in 2020 that they cheated some more. There will be folks who think they are “getting away with it” if they win with players that they think should have been banned for life.
So where is Dan P’s head right now…..
How much can you trust a cheater? It is a weird situation. The players were given immunity by the league if they told the truth. We know they absolutely cheated in 2017 and maybe a bit in 2018. Do we believe them when they say they did not cheat before 2017 or especially in 2019 when the Astros almost won a World Series that might have been clouded too? Do we believe Jim Crane when he does his best Sgt. Schultz “I knew nothing” routine? Do we believe him when he lays it all at Luhnow and Hinch’s feet? Do we believe Carlos Correa when he says his good buddy and countryman Carlos Beltran did not intimidate younger players to follow him? Do we believe Jose Altuve when he says modestly is why he didn’t want his teammates to take off his jersey back when he walked off the 2019 ALCS?
Is this karma coming back around? Friend of the blog, Diane hit on this, but many of us were a bit uncomfortable with some of the over the top gamesmanship of players, especially Alex Bregman. Most of us thought teams like the Yankees were owed some bad karma for their arrogance and feelings of entitlement over the years. But is there anything cockier than someone possibly launching a homer after being signaled what pitch was coming and then posing like a peacock in the dugout?
On the other hand…. Relative to 2019, Gerrit Cole, who now is getting paid the equivalent of a small country’s GNP for the Astros’ playoff rival (the Yanks) has straight out said he saw no cheating in his time with the Astros. He has no reason to not be honest and to endear himself to his new fans. Unless….well of course he could be using semantics in saying he did not “see” anything if it was all done by buzzers under the clothes. Oh, my brain hurts from this.
Astros PR advice either sucks or is not being taken…. After a complete fail in public relations with the Brandon Taubman meltdown, the press conference on Thursday seemed to continue a tendency for this organization to have a tin ear towards the public. While it was not as ignorant as the way the club backed up Taubman and accused his accuser without really gathering all the facts, the choice to have Jim Crane as a very defensive emcee standing behind his fairly stiff and very tight-lipped apologist ballplayers was a poor one. As Seth Payne stated on 610 Sports (KILT) this morning, they would have been much better off going straight to the open clubhouse interviews than the 90 second long “I’m sorry – can we move on” canned scripts. As Payne stated, this allowed the national press to concentrate on Crane’s contradictory statements and answers and the inadequate apologies, when the clubhouse interviews were more sincere and more natural. Note – I was wondering if you go back to the speeches and looked really close you could find Bregman, and Altuve blinking in code “My family is being held captive by the MLB and I am being forced to read from their script.”
OK – I am ready to return to real baseball in my next post, but I had to get this out of my system.