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Myshkin

MLB Post/Off-season: Houston, We Have a Problem

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Hinch’s statement:

 

“I appreciate Commissioner Manfred’s unwavering commitment to upholding the best interests of baseball. I regret being connected to these events, am disappointed in our club’s actions within this timeline, and I accept the Commissioner’s decision.

As a leader and Major League Manager, it is my responsibility to lead players and staff with integrity that represents the game in the best possible way. While the evidence consistently showed I didn’t endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry.

I apologize to Mr. Crane for all negative reflections this may have had on him and the Astros organization. To the fans, thank you for your continued support through this challenging time – and for this team. I apologize to all of you for our mistakes but I’m confident we will learn from it – and I personally commit to work tirelessly to ensure I do.

My time in Houston has provided some of the greatest moments in my career and those memories will always be near and dear to me and my family. I regret that my time with the Astros has ended, but will always be a supporter of the club, players, and staff I’ve had the privilege of working alongside. I wish them the best in the future of the game I love.”

 

So apparently AJ Hinch, you know the manager, was completely powerless to stop the people he was supposed to be managing from doing things he didn’t like. I can buy that he maybe had some moral qualms about cheating, but if he really wanted them to stop he’d have fucking told them to stop. No, I’m not buying this “powerless to stop it” bullshit; conflicted or not, he liked the results and so let the cheating continue.

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9 minutes ago, Myshkin said:

So apparently AJ Hinch, you know the manager, was completely powerless to stop the people he was supposed to be managing from doing things he didn’t like. I can buy that he maybe had some moral qualms about cheating, but if he really wanted them to stop he’d have fucking told them to stop. No, I’m not buying this “powerless to stop it” bullshit; conflicted or not, he liked the results and so let the cheating continue.

Yeah, was he conflicted about the dirty WS ring he got? 

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Luhnow’s statement:

 

“I accept responsibility for rules violations that occurred on my watch as President of Baseball Operations and General Manager of the Astros. I apologize to the Astros organization, Astros fans and the Houston community for the shame and embarrassment this has caused. I am deeply grateful to Jim Crane for the opportunity to lead baseball operations.

I am not a cheater. Anybody who has worked closely with me during my 32-year career inside and outside baseball can attest to my integrity. I did not know rules were being broken. As the Commissioner set out in his statement, I did not personally direct, oversee or engage in any misconduct: The sign-stealing initiative was not planned or directed by baseball management; the trash-can banging was driven and executed by players, and the video decoding of signs originated and was executed by lower-level employees working with the bench coach. I am deeply upset that I wasn’t informed of any misconduct because I would have stopped it.

I agree with Mr. Crane that our baseball operations team has achieved far more positives beyond this significant negative. Many very good people have worked, and continue to work, for the Astros organization. I am extremely proud of the many executives throughout the industry who were trained and promoted in our department.”

 

What a dickhead. Fuck off with your I didn’t know nothing bullshit. Of course this asshole knew all about it. Moreover, he created the win-at-all-costs culture that let everyone in the organization know that nothing was forbidden as long as it produced results.

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3 minutes ago, Triskele said:

Yeah, was he conflicted about the dirty WS ring he got? 

Right? And all those times he laughed at questions about his team cheating, all those times he called the allegations ridiculous?  How does that line up with his “I didn’t like it, but what could I do,” bullshit?

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It is remarkable to ponder all of this from a Dodgers standpoint that of all teams getting investigated it's these two.  

I suspect that all teams try to steal signs the old-fashioned way, and how knows what will come out down the road, but at the moment it seems plausible that Houston and Boston specifically had more sophisticated cheating systems than anyone else.  Maybe Dave Roberts isn't such a bad manager after all.  Your decisions about when to pull pitchers will probably look worse if the other team knows what pitch your new reliever is about to throw.  

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17 minutes ago, Triskele said:

It is remarkable to ponder all of this from a Dodgers standpoint that of all teams getting investigated it's these two.  

I suspect that all teams try to steal signs the old-fashioned way, and how knows what will come out down the road, but at the moment it seems plausible that Houston and Boston specifically had more sophisticated cheating systems than anyone else.  Maybe Dave Roberts isn't such a bad manager after all.  Your decisions about when to pull pitchers will probably look worse if the other team knows what pitch your new reliever is about to throw.  

The Sawks kicked our asses in ‘18, and I suspect they’d have been able to do so without cheating. The ‘Stros in ‘17 though? No doubt in my mind they only won that Series because they were cheating. 

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It appears that the other teams are universally unhappy with the punishments handed down to the Astros, but have been told in no uncertain terms to keep their mouths shut about it. The Dodgers have additionally been told to keep their mouth shut about the validity of the 2017 WS. 

Firstly it’s being pointed out that the 2 draft picks the Astros will lose this year will be from the back ends of their respective rounds, and unless the ‘Stros completely fall apart, so will the 2 picks they’ll lose from next year’s draft. Losing your top 2 picks for 2 years ain’t nothing, but it’s unlikely that the Astros will be missing out on the next Carlos Correa or Alex Bregman*. And since they get to keep all their international bonus pool money they won’t be missing out on the next Jose Altuve either. For the Astros talent pipeline this is more of a speed bump than a roadblock.

The other owners are also unhappy with how the commissioner not only went out of his way to clear Jim Crane’s name, but also seems to have coordinated with Crane to orchestrate his Good Guy turn. Here we get a report that unequivocally states that Crane had zero knowledge of what his team was doing, and not an hour later Crane himself is on live TV meting out justice to the bad, bad men who tarnished our sacred game. No doubt about it, this was all pre-planned for the benefit of a guy whose team stole a WS.

*Let’s all take a moment to remember how exactly the Astros got Bergman; by completely screwing over 2 picks from the previous draft.

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5 minutes ago, Myshkin said:

It appears that the other teams are universally unhappy with the punishments handed down to the Astros, but have been told in no uncertain terms to keep their mouths shut about it. The Dodgers have additionally been told to keep their mouth shut about the validity of the 2017 WS. 

Yeah, I haven't trafficked around Yankee blogs since the season ended and my go-to - RAB - closed (RIP), but I took a look at the reaction last night and damn!  There are some majorly pissed off Yankee fans about 2017.  I thought the penalty was sufficiently harsh, and a lot of the suggestions I read for further punishment seem a little (to a lot) much.  Granted, I think all the players claiming "it didn't have an effect" in the report is grade a bullshit.  If it wasn't working you'd have stopped doing it.  But I also question how much impact it really had on the outcome of games.  I always tend to think things like taking away their WS or Altuve's MVP are pretty ridiculous.  But then I also think they should put Pete Rose (and Bonds et al.) in the Hall already.

I think taking away their international money, or maybe limiting them to seem very low bonus per player (say 50k) woulda been a good idea.  I also think players should be punished for this as well, ideally, but it's not clear from the report how many players they solidly identified other than Beltran, so I don't want to jump to conclusions.

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The old “it didn’t have an effect” line is the same one Bobby Thomson used to justify his “shot-heard-round-the-world”. It’s full on horseshit. In the 2017 WS the Astros were clobbering first-pitch HRs off of some the best pitchers in baseball. It’s very obvious now that they were cheating, and they still barely won one of the tightest WS in recent memory. I have absolutely no doubt that the Dodgers would have beat the Astros if the Astros hadn’t been cheating. What I do doubt is whether or not the Dodgers would have even been playing the Astros in that WS if the Astros hadn’t been cheating. But I don’t think their championship should be voided; though an asterisk would be nice.

As for player punishment, I can understand why Manfred wouldn’t (or maybe couldn’t) punish players in this instance. This would be a union issue. But I do think the next CBA should outline punishments for players who participate in illegal sign stealing schemes. It’s not just about the integrity of the game; it’s about money. And I’m not talking owners losing money, though that’s part of it. How many players lost out on playoff bonuses because the Astros cheated their way past them? How many players lost money on their FA contracts because the Astros clobbered them in big games? Astros players monetarily benefited from their cheating, and opposing players monetarily suffered because of it, and all players should be made aware that such will not be the case in future.

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30 minutes ago, Myshkin said:

I have absolutely no doubt that the Dodgers would have beat the Astros if the Astros hadn’t been cheating.

Yeah, one could equally say the same thing about the Yanks in the ALCS.  I'm just not as sure as you.  Although I do agree with the asterisk, especially considering its precedent.

32 minutes ago, Myshkin said:

But I do think the next CBA should outline punishments for players who participate in illegal sign stealing schemes.

Good point.

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It's a shame about Cora. I really thought the team had a good manager that I could respect, who'd be around a while. Ah, well.

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In non fallout news, The Twins have signed Josh Donaldson for 4yrs/$92mm

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Wonder if the Mets get rid of Beltran. He was specifically named by Manfred as someone who participated in the cheating, but as he was a player at the time and doesn’t seem to be a ringleader like Cora was I’m not sure if they do indeed fire him.

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15 hours ago, Myshkin said:

In non fallout news, The Twins have signed Josh Donaldson for 4yrs/$92mm

*sigh* Lost another one to the big market Twins. 

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6 hours ago, Jaime L said:

*sigh* Lost another one to the big market Twins. 

Is he any good? Either way I'm just happy to see this cheap a** team spending money.

Also, The Twin Cities isn't exactly a small market. We're people too!!!

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2 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Also, The Twin Cities isn't exactly a small market. We're people too!!!

You guys are literally trying to pass off two cities as one to inflate your numbers, but sure.

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