Houston Asterisks

Hey gang, Dan here, and I’m irritated.

I’m irritated because we have a new season approaching, and it should be a time of joy.

I’m irritated because we should be debating on who the strongest teams in each division are. We should be debating what we wanna do with our first round draft pick. We should be making plans to go to spring training games, and counting down the minutes until Opening day.

But alas, we’re not. All we are doing is talking about the trash (can banging) Houston Astros and their scandal that is destroying baseball.

We can’t go more than five minutes without some new beat reporter publishing new facts that make this story worse. Every day, more and more players speak out, and more and more videos and memes are posted on Facebook and Twitter about how fun it’s going to be to drill Astros players this year. Baseball is under siege right now.

Make no mistake, I’m just as angry as everyone else. I am firmly in the camp of trying to do my best Emperor Palpatine impression when it comes to these cheaters. “Wipe them out. All of them”.

But while anger at the Astros themselves is understandable and justified, they should not be the main target of our wrath. The person you should be mad at is MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Rob Manfred has failed his sport, and failed the fans. The slaps on the wrist of the Houston Astros are ineffectual and weak, at best.

The biggest problem that people have is the immunity granting for the players involved. Basically, if they told MLB investigators the truth, they would be let off without any punishment for their involvement. That, is insane.

There’s plenty of former Astros who have left that team that would’ve been more than happy to roll over on them. Talk to Mike Fiers, talk to Gerrit Cole, talk to Charlie Morton. Countless others. Granting these players a free pass for their cooperation was a HUGE misstep in judgement. I wish the police treated us that way when we committed a crime. “Tell us what happened, and you’re free to go”.

The issue is you have this raw anger from those who were cheated, that can never be squashed. The Dodgers, Yankees, Athletics, Rays, Red Sox, countless others were beaten by the Astros in games they cheated. Taking away chances at World Series championships, MVP Awards, CY Youngs, Silver Sluggers, the list goes on and on. You’re taking money, and fame, and pieces of these players legacy away from them. Rob Manfred FAILED all of us.

Just for fun, I came up with the list of punishments that I would’ve given the Astros, had I been the Commissioner at the time.

-$100 million dollar fine for the organization.

-Automatic forfeiture of the 2017 World Series Championship and the 2017 AL West Championship. This includes trophies, rings, any gear or memorabilia and any mention of them winning, all gone. I would NOT award the World Series to the Dodgers. That just gets messsy.

-162 game suspensions for any player found to benefit from the cheating system. The Astros wouldn’t be able to field a full team, but hey we’re always complaining the Minor Leaguers don’t get a shot as much as they should, right? The Astros AAA players would get free tickets to the majors. See, I’m helping.

-Automatic forfeiture of any personal awards won during that time. This includes Altuve’s 2017 MVP.

– A postseason ban for three years.

– A ban from television in the Houston market, and the Houston market’s surrounding territories for one year. No games on TV whatsoever. The Astros organization would compensate the TV providers on their lost revenue.

-And the big one, automatic bans on Hall of Fame eligibility for anyone involved.

Is it harsh? Absoultely. But strong misbehavior requires a strong response. The message needed to be sent that this would NEVER be tolerated again. Baseball failed miserably in sending that message. And we’re all suffering for it.

This is going to be the last time I speak on this. I want to move forward with preparing for what should be an exciting Rays season, and hopefully we can all start to put this scandal behind us. But I felt really strongly about this, and felt like I needed to dust off thefoulline.com’s keyboard and get my thoughts out there with the first post of the new decade.

Let’s finally start to focus on real baseball again. Not Asterisks.

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