…so I feel like I should comment on the whole cheating scandal going on in Major League Baseball. Not only because it involves the Boston Red Sox. But also because the New England Patriots have been known to ummmmm…push the envelope a time or three as well. So I guess it is in the water here. Or it’s prevalent around all leagues. Either way…
The punishment has not come out against the Red Sox as of yet, so I am not really sure how I feel about them in particular. Though the punishment has been levied against the Houston Astros already, they still seem to be the focus of the public somehow. I’ll take that.
There is nothing really to write about the actual Red Sox team either. Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom has spent the offseason basically exchanging bum/unproven relievers for…bum/unproven relievers. And NOT cutting payroll, as he was apparently “mandated” to do. He also got rid of some AAAA infielders and signed a backup catcher. So there’s that. Oh, and now he has to find a manager. Seems pretty productive thus far, right?
So instead of wasting any words on Sam Travis, Bobby Poyner, Jeffrey Springs or Matt Hall, here are some completely random thoughts on the cheating coming out of my head, in no particular order. And I am not even guaranteeing they will make any sense either:
*As written in an ESPN article, “Cora is described by commissioner Rob Manfred as being “involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs. Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct.””
Yeah, based on that, I can’t say I am surprised by the Sox firing him…oops, I mean, “agreed with Alex to mutually part ways…” Sorry about that.
But what penalty can Cora expect? Based on the year that former Astro manager A.J. Hinch received, is there a chance Cora gets banned for life? Is it worse than what Pete Rose did to get him banned for life?
I may be the wrong guy to ask about Rose. Truly an abhorrable (abhorrent?) individual, he bet on his own team while he was managing the Cincinnati Reds. He may have not been the only one doing it, but he was dumb enough to get caught. And, not to mention, dumb enough to do it in the first place. Some may point out that he may have been showing confidence in his own team that day. But he also likely tanked other days to assure the team was at its best the day he threw money down on them. Or something like that. In any event, despite being a colossal scumbag, Rose should be in the Hall of Fame as a player. Since he would be far from the only scumbag in the Hall.
But I digress. As for Cora…I don’t even know the answer. It would seem kind of obvious that he would get more than Hinch. But life?
I can’t go there unless I hear more damning evidence against him. Perhaps that comes when the Red Sox investigation is complete.
*What does MLB do from here? I mean, video is everywhere. Some dude can take video from the 6th row and get valuable information, can’t he? The Astro dude that was standing in plain view and recording in games against the Red Sox, Indians and who knows who else…was that even necessary?
I know the teams have some sort of video rooms in the back and all. But even if they were eliminated, would that make a difference?
I’ve actually been wondering for years how on an NFL telecast in any year someone like Tony Romo, Troy Aikman or Cris Collinsworth say stuff early on like, “when we spoke to the quarterback and coaches on Friday, they told us they were going to do (this) to (combat the other team)”. I mean, no one listens to the telecast and communicates that to the opposing sideline? Yeah, it isn’t the whole game plan. And maybe what was said was kind of obvious. But still…
Video and recording devices are all around us. How do you stop it? I don’t know. And I am not sure MLB does either.
*What about player suspensions? Will we see any of those?
My guess is no. For several reasons. Are any of the reports going to single out any of the players? Are there really any players that took advantage more than others? Did some players frown upon it, but had no choice to go along with the plan due to pressure from their teammates/coaches (reports are that Hinch didn’t love what was going on and broke two monitors at some point. But ultimately did nothing to stop it, so of course he is paying the price),
And above all, how can you suspend 25-40 players?
Perhaps heavy manager/GM penalties may discourage players from engaging in this practice going forward. But can we count on that?
*And if they are going after General Managers, why not the owners? I guess the draft picks and the 5 mil takes care of that part.
However, Marge Schott and George Steinbrenner faced some personal penalties years ago. So who is to say the owners shouldn’t pay some sort of personal price here as well?
We know for these guys 5 mil is pocket change.
More questions than answers, I know. But MLB is undoubtedly in the same spot.
And one thing is for sure, cheating is never going away…in any sport.
If it’s not video, it’s Apple watches, it’s performance enhancing drugs, it’s deflating footballs, or it’s something else. And then something new will inevitably come along.
Sign stealing has been happening for years, in fact. We all know that. It’s just a little more high tech now.
So as the world becomes more complicated, busy and distracting…good luck to every sport for figuring all THAT out…
Major League Baseball will start handing out the hardware for the 2019 season next week. The finalists for all the major awards have also been announced. The Blowhard has his opinions, and the finalists in real life won’t necessarily be the finalists in this “vote”. We will list out our picks like it was a real ballot. Meaning, 10 choices for MVP, 5 for Cy Young, etc. And let’s please remember, the postseason results don’t count. Real life ballots are finalized once the regular season ends. Let’s dive right in:
Most Valuable Player:
- Mike Trout, LA Angels
- Alex Bregman, Houston
- DJ LeMahieu, NY Yankees
- Xander Bogaerts, Boston
- Nelson Cruz, Minnesota
- George Springer, Houston
- Marcus Semien, Oakland
- Rafael Devers, Boston
- Carlos Santana, Cleveland
- Jorge Soler, Kansas City
This is what I wrote last year: “There will be at least one person upset that I put Trout third. Mikey may still yet be the best player in baseball. But again, for those who don’t remember, I am an advocate for giving the MVP award to the “most valuable” instead of the “best player”. You will see from the list above that there are no players from bad teams and only one (Trout) from a mediocre team. I know, these guys are only one of nine on the field at the same time. And it’s hard to “carry” a baseball team by yourself. But look at the difference J.D. seemed to make in the Boston lineup and maybe one player can?”
Welp, I give up. Trout is the best player in baseball. He looked like he was on his way to his best season before being shut down in early September with a foot injury…and by “best season”, that is really saying something with the career he has had. It may have been his best season anyway. His team still sucked, that is nothing new. It will always make one wonder how “valuable” he actually is to the team. But that matters not anymore.
Alex Bregman would be the only other real option. But how “valuable” was he to his team? Well, he had some great numbers and showed his defensive versatility when he played a great deal of the season at shortstop. But he also had guys like Jose Altuve, George Springer, Yuli Gurriel, Carlos Correa to go along with a top rookie and 2 Cy Young candidates that we will talk more about later. So even though Houston won 107 games, Bregman had a lot of help.
So Trout is the choice. Some people (Pete?) would say that is abundantly clear and always has been. Perhaps that is true…but moving on…
Semien is the third finalist in real life. Helluva a year for him for sure. But 3rd seems to be a stretch. LeMahieu is my choice. DJ wasn’t even going to necessarily have a full-time job when he first started the season with the Yanks. And, silly me, I thought once he left the cozy confines of Coors Field, his numbers would take a hit. Wrong again. With all of the Yankee injuries, DJ was out there every day and his numbers, specifically his power numbers, were the best of his career.
Maybe Xander is a little high at 4th, and if you switched him and Semien…I don’t know. X was 5th in the AL in OPS and as a shortstop, I felt like that meant something. We likely would have had Cruz and Springer higher than X, but they both missed about 40 games, so we pushed them back a bit.
8-10 could have been anyone. Per usual. I thought the three here should be recognized for their awesome seasons. Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Austin Meadows, Yoan Moncada, Jose Altuve, Matt Olson, a couple of pitchers…if you put any of those guys at the back of the top 10, I would not argue with you.
- Justin Verlander, Houston
- Gerrit Cole, Houston
- Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay
- Shane Bieber, Cleveland
- Lance Lynn, Texas
It’s really Verlander 1A and Cole 1B. It was THAT close. I guess the tiebreakers included Verlanders’ lower WHIP and more consistent year. Cole started a little slow and then dominated from June on in. But if you gave the award to either you wouldn’t be wrong. Morton is a distant 3rd. Bieber could have made that spot as well. I can’t believe I am writing Lynn into the last spot. But who else would it be? Mike Minor? Lucas Giolito? Eduardo Rodriguez? A closer like Roberto Osuna? I don’t know. Does it matter?
Rookie of the Year:
- Yordan Alvarez, Houston
- Eloy Jimenez, Chi White Sox
- John Means, Baltimore
Alvarez only played 87 games. But his numbers were so off the charts, he wins in a landslide. Eloy had a better year than people think. And Means actually made the All-Star team. Though, yeah, someone had to go from the Orioles.
There were some other exciting rookies in the league this year. But they either didn’t do as well as expected (Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Oscar Mercado) or didn’t play enough (Bo Bichette). Brandon Lowe was an All-Star and is up for the real award, but he missed the majority of the second half. And didn’t have the numbers Alvarez had anyway. Michael Chavis also contributed as a rookie then he himself missed the last several weeks. Solid group here going forward though.
Manager of the Year:
- Rocco Baldelli, Minnesota
- Aaron Boone, NY Yankees
- Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay
I was tempted to give this to Boone with the way he had to navigate all the injuries the team had this year. But they are the Yankees. And have enough resources to combat injuries in the first place. It’s also impossible to ignore a 23 win improvement in your first year as manager, as the Twins did under Baldelli. Cash could win this every year. His team doesn’t spend and he has to have “bullpen games” like 3 days a week. Not to mention, his best starter, Blake Snell, missed significant time this year. But Cash always seems to keep the Rays in the mix. Bob Melvin deserves consideration for the job he did with the A’s as well. AJ Hinch gets penalized for his team being too good in the first place, unfortunately.
Next: The National League