A Franchise Bereft of Morals

Sports and morality are supposed to be unrelated. Rarely are they ever mentioned in the same breath. However, cheating is the one major exception to this rule, and that’s exactly what the Houston Astros are guilty of. It’s a little surprising that it’s not being talked about more, but given that the Winter Meetings are going on, it’s understandable. But it shouldn’t make people forget how egregious and serious this is.

Here’s the sequence of events: The Houston Astros are accused of cheating during the 2017 Playoffs using an outfield camera to steal pitching signals. They’re also accused of doing the same during this year’s playoffs, but the 2017 season was when they won the franchise’s first World Series championship. Obviously, this would represent a huge issue if discovered to be true. But this actually isn’t an isolated incident, but rather an indication of a total lack of morality within the Astros franchise.

The fact that the Astros franchise appears to be run by people who only care about winning and will do so with no regard to public opinion shouldn’t come as a surprise. Remember: the team traded for Roberto Osuna while he was still serving a 75-game suspension following his conviction for domestic violence. This simply isn’t a good look. Additionally, this year’s playoffs were marred by former Assistant GM Brandon Taubman yelling at a group of female reporters about how he was “so f***ing glad we got Osuna,” the aforementioned domestic abuser.

Now, am I upset because the Astros cheated my favorite team, the New York Yankees, out of two trips to the World Series? Absolutely! It makes me, and every self-respecting Yankee fan red with anger, and it makes every prideful Astros fan ashamed because their team tried to run around the rules.

The discussion about this situation will now turn to investigation and potential punishment. And I can tell you now that the fact we haven’t heard any news about this says to me that the punishment ultimately handed down to the Astros will be particularly severe.

Another reason why I think the punishment will be harsher than expected is because there is no precedent for this cheating incident. There have been instances of players or managers breaking the rules (i.e. Pete Rose), but never an entire franchise and not for cheating so much as to win a championship. What this says to me is that commissioner Rob Manfred will want to make a drastic statement to dissuade other franchises from even thinking about cheating their way to a title.

For now, though, the focus in the MLB is on the Winter Meetings. But lying under the surface is a tsunami called punishment, and it’s heading straight for the Houston Astros.

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