Sports The Astros cheated and got what they deserved

The Astros cheated and got what they deserved

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If the Red Sox are also found guilty and punished as dramatically as the Astros have already been, with suspended executives, lost selections and multi-million dollar fines, do we void the Boston title in 2018? Or do we always think of the Red Sox as an asterisk champion?

Such questions can, and will be, formulated and discussed for years. And nobody will approach a satisfactory answer.

This scandal is a perfect illustration of why cheating in professional sports is so bad. Ruin everything. There is no way to repair the damage. And that scar on the face of a sport is permanent, as with the World Series 101 years ago that is still known with only two words: Black Sox.

That is why it is so important to do everything possible to catch cheats and crush those who are caught with sanctions that attract the attention of the next person who is tempted to do the same. It seems that we never understand the true weight of the phrase "integrity of the game" until some team or player tries to tear it apart to win.

In moments like this, we vaguely realize that the entire construction of organized professional sports is artificial, almost a faintly balanced house of cards. You don't have to tear down much of the building before fans, also known as customers, have reason to say, "Remind me again why I'm paying attention to this."

If an MLB, NFL, NBA or NHL contest is not in play, or if we cannot at least assume that there is a 99.9 percent chance of it being on the level, then that game is nothing. It does not deserve any attention.

MLB's punishment for the Astros, and Houston's subsequent dismissal of successful general manager Jeff Luhnow and praised manager A.J. Hinch: it has been a giant rock thrown into the center of the lake of our professional games. Consequence waves extend to the coasts in all directions.

Once we remember the great harm caused by deception, we are forced to see cheats not as simple rascals and masters of the rules, but as deeply selfish and destructive people whose lack of a moral compass cannot be ignored with rationalizations that They make us feel comfortable. Like "everyone does it," when we know they don't. Or "why punish only those who are trapped?", When that is exactly what we do in every area of ​​daily life, from murder to insider trading.

The Astros simply added a dark and ugly underline to the curriculum of each cheater, large and small, that has been nailed.

Let Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens enter the Hall of Fame? Never. If this ugliness of the Astros does not convince moral relativists to find a backbone and admit that sometimes there really is a "good" and a "bad", and that the evil must be punished, then what will it be?

It's not even a comfortable day to be Ted Leonsis, the owner of the NBA and NHL franchises in DC, who can't wait to take the game, even bets on the next free throw attempt, to his arena and direct to his seat. .

Sports play and corruption go hand in hand or are perceived that way. And with the Astros on the bench, we remember how important is the perception of honesty, if you want to stay in business.

Each Nats pitcher received five sets of signs to indicate their releases. For example, a finger for a fast ball, two for a curve, three for a change and so on. But the Nats went further. Each of his 12 pitchers got five different Signs set. Perhaps in "Sign Set 1" a single finger would mean a slider for Max Scherzer, but the same finger could mean a change to Stephen Strasburg.

How could a pitcher keep so many sets of signals in his mind, especially under the pressure of the World Series? Each Nats pitcher had his own five sets of personal signs attached to his hat bill. And both the pitcher and the receiver had to coordinate which set they were using.

Nobody knows exactly what the Astros did in exactly what games of exactly what seasons, including 2019. But this is what we know: the Nats used their six days off between securing the pennant and starting the World Series to institute a system worthy of "Figures hidden. ”It's good to have an intelligent and veteran team.

But surely you shouldn't have the ghost of Moe Berg, the linguistic genius and the spy of World War II, as your receiver just to play in Minute Maid Park.

MLB threw the book at the Astros. If I had thrown two or three more books, that would have been fine.

But a central point is below this entire episode: deception or the perception of deception attacks baseball, or any sport, in its essence, threatening its viability as entertainment, as a business or even as an American institution dating back to 1868 .

Those who are too dumb or venal to know the damage they are risking should be slapped awake in simple terms that they are able to understand. Every effort will be made to catch you, and if you are caught, you will be severely punished.

It took baseball almost 20 years to learn that lesson during its PED era. To this day, and forever, no one will be able to understand the game's record book, now stained with false honors. It can't be fixed. If something good came from that period, maybe we finally saw it on Monday. Baseball woke up, investigated and caught his cheats, even if that meant tarnishing one title and perhaps another.

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