Nationals Baseball: Buzzkill

Friday, January 17, 2020


Who knows how the weekend will unfold. Yesterday Carlos Beltran was fired, Jessica Mendoza made a fool of herself with a "snitches get stitches" take and the internet descended into chaos as players, player's kids, and fake player relations all weighed in on the scandal. Everyone starts looking for more like scanning video and picutres for evidence of buzzers, jumping on anything because the Astros have no benefit of the doubt anymore.

As we dig deeper expect to find more.  Every team tries to get an advantage and it's not like the Astros were the only team doing this. I don't say this to say any of this is ok. It's not. They know this type of watching monitors and signalling players is outside the scope of the game as desired. But that isn't going to stop some teams, especially knowing one team is succeeding doing it.

Could the Nats be cheats? Possibly! Any team can. Not hearing whispers from the local media is good, but unlike the bottles of sort of steroids sitting in lockers that the media just pretended they didn't see, the teams did seem to hide this from people outside the organization, so you can't rely on it. Better we haven't heard anything anecdotally yet.

Someone asked why the players are getting off scott-free.  It's because they have to. Not only would it be very hard to figure out who did what, but then meting out the punishment would cause competitive imbalances over the course of the season. Do you catch the Astros without Correa and Bregman or without Reddick and Max Stassi? You do have this kind of random luck during the season but MLB shouldn't be creating it.

Is there more to come just from the Astros side? There are two coaches still hanging out with ties to the 2017 team, one in Toronto and one in Boston that will probably end up being let go I imagine. After that we'll have to see what shakes out. If nothing comes up soon, it's possible that MLB could put it's head down, hide behind the Super Bowl, and get to Spring.


G Cracka X said...

I like Cautiously Pessimistic's suggestion of suspending the Astros from the post-season for 2 years. That would punish both the front office and the players without trying to isolate individual punishment. It would also send a stern enough signal to other players not to mess with illegal sign-stealing. Who likes playing on a team with 0% hope of a postseason berth?

Jimmy said...

Right on Harper this is exactly what I see as happening. The people calling for the player suspensions have no idea what they are asking for. First the PA would argue they were following orders from their supperiors and Than after we got past that the argument would be try and prove which players were taking advantage of this? Was it all of them, some of them or none of them? I know which angle many will take. Also I find it quite humorous that in the report the people that looked the worst Beltran and Cora are no longer with the Astros organization. Apparently there isn't any honor among thieves. In all honesty this whole thing disgusts me and If I was commissioner I'd suspend the whole 2017 team for a year. Gambling is too important for the perception of cheating existing but the MLB is probably playing this right slapping everyone involved with penalties and hoping it goes away.

Anonymous said...

@ GCX postseason ban is tough too. That then makes it so all the players will push to move on since no chance at postseason and no free agents will sign. As much as I want the astros to be punished more, 2 seasons of exodus of players with no free agent signings except the min wage chumps who just want to be on a team will blackball the Astros for way longer than the 2 years

Ollie said...

I like the postseason ban idea; soccer does punishments like this (demotion to lower leagues) around match fixing (which is more extreme than sign stealing, but probably the closest equivalent in that sport) and some other transgressions. While I think it'd be sort of hilarious to see the 'Stros spend a couple years in AA-AAA, that's obviously not happening so a postseason ban seems fitting. And of course the NCAA does bowl/tournament bans, but those usually aren't player driven to the extent this seemed to (partly) be.

I totally disagree that players shouldn't be individually punished, and that feels suspiciously like an A-Rod apologist take (or of a Yankees fan worried the rumors they did something similar are true). MLB's conducted investigations into individuals before so there's precedent; a postseason ban would sting Crane's pocket more than the $5M fine if they were to make it back, but they ought to make an example of the ringleaders of this whole situation which seems at least partly player-driven. So be it if Nats did this too, though no one's raised the accusation against them; this arguably affects the game/outcomes more directly than steroids. If your argument's that it skews too much in favor of teams that play them more often, weren't those teams the most adversely affected by their cheating?

Also, I'm #NotALawyer but wouldn't surprise me if players on teams that lost to the Astros, especially pitchers in the last couple years sue over damages from being cheated out of winning playoff series, and the usual contract leverage that comes from postseason success.

Cautiously Pessimistic said...


Absolutely. I hedged between 1 year and 2 myself. But 1 seems like something too easy to weather, whereas 2 may be too harsh. It's tricky, not sure of the best option ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

BxJaycobb said...

@Harper, Others

1. Gives me no pleasure to point this out, but the Nets HAVE in fact been accused by at least one source anonymously along with like a half dozen other teams. Been cited in The Ringer and this Bleacher Report piece. Deserves little to no credence on it's own, but it's not nothing. So if--as other articles have suggested--the Astros interviewed lobbed accusations left and right--it's possible they'll be caught up in it...though hard to believe baseball wants to follow up on 1/3 of the league. Here is article:

2. Re the player discipline, #LawyerHere. The issue is not competition and it's not other teams with former Astros getting disadvantaged by losing people. You could drop giant fines on the folks involved if that was the problem. The main issue is the Union and the CBA. Player discipline would be challenged and lead to grievances and arbitration and court and appeals that would drag on for literally years. Whether George Springer was going to be suspended would be in the news during the 2021 season. It's the opposite of what Manfred wants. He wants this over as quickly as possible. It also would throw a giant grenade into the upcoming CBA labor negotiations, which is what most management is thinking about right now and what Manfred is 90% thinking about. It also would make this a bigger and longer story and the uncertainty associated with the discipline would screw with MLB's new relationship with MGM and gambling, which is going to be a giant industry and lucrative for baseball (and is the biggest problem for MLB in terms of dollars and cents with this scandal).

Finally, no. Nobody is suing least nobody sane. Those lawsuits would probably be precluded by the CBA and even if they weren't they would be tossed out immediately due to total inability to prove any proximate cause (link between game results and the cheating).

Anyway, I wouldn't worry too much about the above single source re Bleacher Report on Nats cheating...first, even that says they weren't heavily into it...and on its own its close to nothing. But its not accurate to say nobody has mentioned the Nats.

BxJaycobb said...

PS For those looking in the article for where the Nats are mentioned, I'm referring just to this passage, which again, has been cited elsewhere like the Ringer:

"But given assurances of anonymity, several league sources indicate the Astros, Dodgers, Red Sox, New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks have been especially adept with technological surveillance. One source mentions the Cubs and Washington Nationals dabble a bit "but not as much as others." Another source says the Indians, while still another notes the Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers once were suspected as well."

Mr. T said...

"a postseason ban would sting Crane's pocket more"

Um, yeah. And that's why it's not happening.
Crane is Manfred's boss.
Funny how the GM and manager are responsible for creating a culture in which cheating was tolerated--but the owner isn't responsible for hiring people who created a culture in which cheating was tolerated. He's a great guy, the owner, who just wants to get to the bottom of this problem.
There's a lesson here.

Expos 1983 Blog said...

Nationalize the MLB!

Jay said...

I say just take the trophy. No one won the 2017 World Series. That would have gotten the Astros attention. Of course, that would have led to Crane suing MLB.

SuburbanSteve said...

Where's Kennesaw Mountain Landis when you need him!!

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