Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, February 07, 2020

Hinch: ‘Fair question’ if Astros’ title tainted by scandal

Former Astros manager AJ Hinch isn’t dismissing the idea that Houston’s 2017 World Series championship has been tainted by the sign-stealing scandal that cost him his job.

“It’s a fair question,” Hinch said in an interview with MLB Network. “And I think everyone’s going to have to draw their own conclusion.”

Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended for one season by Commissioner Rob Manfred, who found Houston illicitly used electronics to steal signs during their title run. Team owner Jim Crane then fired both Hinch and Luhnow.

In an excerpt from an interview set to air Friday night, Hinch defended his players’ talents but said the clubhouse put itself in a position where its achievements may be blemished.

Is it just me, or does it seem to anyone else that the more and more A.J. Hinch talks the less-qualified he seems to hold any sort of a leadership position?

 

QLE Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:44 AM | 62 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: a.j. hinch, astros, dirty rotten cheaters

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. The Duke Posted: February 07, 2020 at 07:23 AM (#5922569)
Hinch will never work again as an MLB manager. He’s effectively the drug dealer enabling the players. Created a culture that allowed this, pathetically tried to intervene and failed, basically a kiss-ass to Luhnow. He’s the antithesis of leadership. I was not for taking away the title but as more data comes out I now believe they should have. They should not be allowed to call themselves the 2017 champions in any PR campaigns
   2. Astroenteritis Posted: February 07, 2020 at 08:59 AM (#5922578)
I think Hinch will manage again, but it may be a few years. He's been one of the more apologetic figures and I think he genuinely regrets what happened, and that he allowed it to happen. However, he is going to suffer the consequences of his actions, or inactions, for quite some time.
   3. asinwreck Posted: February 07, 2020 at 09:17 AM (#5922582)
Hinch and Cora as analysts on MLB Network would be very interesting if they felt being candid would restore their credibility in the game. It's not like we haven't seen a guy go off a one-year suspension for breaking rules and then become a national broadcaster before.
   4. Blastin Posted: February 07, 2020 at 09:23 AM (#5922584)
Hinch's issue now is he comes off so damn feckless and ineffectual.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 07, 2020 at 09:27 AM (#5922588)
Hinch's issue now is he comes off so damn feckless and ineffectual.

Yes. Weak and corrupt is a bad look.
   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 07, 2020 at 11:38 AM (#5922623)
Yes. Weak and corrupt is a bad look.


Yeah, "I was too cowardly to do the right thing" is the worst of both worlds.
   7. Blastin Posted: February 07, 2020 at 11:41 AM (#5922625)
Worse than just following orders, it's "I was just following orders but I really didn't want to but I did anyway but I didn't want to I'm sorry"
   8. PreservedFish Posted: February 07, 2020 at 12:13 PM (#5922636)
I disagree. Yes, Hinch does come off as somewhat cowardly, but I think it should be easy to understand his plight. In literally every direction of the org chart he was surrounded by people that made more money than him, were more important to the organization, and were in full agreement on this cheating scheme. And he would have had zero confidence that the owner would back him up on anything. Hinch's only option may have been to blow the whistle himself or quietly resign for undisclosed reasons. There's little question that this would have been the most righteous thing to do, but it is a very high standard of behavior, one that most actually good and honest people would fail to meet.

And as for ineffectual, his ineffectualness was actually baked into the job description. The manager is no longer the general of the dugout, the manager is a coordinator that serves at the pleasure of the front office. AJ Hinch probably couldn't tell the A/V dork co-conspirators to knock it off because everyone knew that he didn't have the standing to do it. This #### went straight up to Luhnow.

This wasn't a display of rank, contemptible cowardice, this was a (apparently) good guy caught in a nearly impossible situation. He screwed up, he should have done things differently, but I think most people in the game will see him as deserving some slack.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 07, 2020 at 12:20 PM (#5922643)
This wasn't a display of rank, contemptible cowardice, this was a (apparently) good guy caught in a nearly impossible situation. He screwed up, he should have done things differently, but I think most people in the game will see him as deserving some slack.

Why should we believe his story? How do we know it's anything besides ex post-facto ass-covering?

It's just too late to pull the "but, but I was really against it" act. The fact that he did absolutely nothing to stop it makes it far more likely that he was fully on-board, until they got caught.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 07, 2020 at 12:29 PM (#5922649)
He has pretty consistently been somewhat less of a prick about the Astros' conduct (this and the Taubman issue) than the others, although it's pretty sad that this passes for "better."
   11. The Duke Posted: February 07, 2020 at 12:31 PM (#5922655)
You can tell your boss. You tell him in an email and copy a bunch of key people - once it’s on paper they would have had to fix it
   12. PreservedFish Posted: February 07, 2020 at 12:38 PM (#5922658)
Why should we believe his story? How do we know it's anything besides ex post-facto ass-covering?


Well, for one thing, "he has pretty consistently been somewhat less of a prick" than the others.

It's just too late to pull the "but, but I was really against it" act.


He's not doing this in the linked article. Has he done it anywhere? I haven't read every word on the issue, but my impression is that it was the commissioner's report that detailed Hinch's television-smashing, that Hinch did not volunteer this to the media. Hinch has consistently been humble and contrite in everything I've seen. He has 100% accepted his punishment as just.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: February 07, 2020 at 12:41 PM (#5922661)
You can tell your boss. You tell him in an email and copy a bunch of key people - once it’s on paper they would have had to fix it


This is easy to say, less easy to do when, as I said, "in literally every direction of the org chart he was surrounded by people that made more money than him, were more important to the organization, and were in full agreement on this cheating scheme." For all Hinch knows, doing this will result in nothing but his own dismissal, and the dugout omerta will keep the cheating secret forever.

Hinch didn't do the right thing, but doing the right thing here would have taken very rare bravery.
   14. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 07, 2020 at 12:41 PM (#5922663)
Weak and corrupt is a bad look.
....
Yeah, "I was too cowardly to do the right thing" is the worst of both worlds.
....
Worse than just following orders, it's "I was just following orders but I really didn't want to but I did anyway but I didn't want to I'm sorry"



So, I'm hearing future U.S. Senator AJ Hinch?
   15. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: February 07, 2020 at 12:52 PM (#5922673)
Why should we believe his story? How do we know it's anything besides ex post-facto ass-covering?

We shouldn't. It's is exactly ex post-facto ass-covering, IMO.
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:02 PM (#5922677)

One thing we don't know about Hinch is whether he is covering for Luhnow and falling on his sword here. Like, if he didn't even raise his concerns to Luhnow, I agree that he didn't even take the absolute minimum action that should be expected of him in that situation.

However, it's possible that he did go to Luhnow, or that Luhnow was completely aware of everything to begin with, and Hinch simply didn't/doesn't want to rat him out. Again, not exactly a profile in courage, but better than "I disagreed with it but I didn't tell them to stop and I didn't report it to my boss."
   17. Blastin Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:17 PM (#5922682)
a (apparently) good guy


Only compared to these other people.
   18. PreservedFish Posted: February 07, 2020 at 01:21 PM (#5922684)
Tough to say. But I'll admit the link in #15 is not helping my case, at all.
   19. Sunday silence Posted: February 07, 2020 at 03:46 PM (#5922724)
you can tell his presser was full of sh!t cause in response to the question he starts out:


"Man, I'm glad you asked that question...

Followed by:

"That will be the last question I answer about pitch tipping or pitch stealing
   20. Zach Posted: February 07, 2020 at 04:03 PM (#5922728)
As really stupid and futile gestures go, smashing a few monitors seems to be working out well for him.
   21. Zach Posted: February 07, 2020 at 04:48 PM (#5922740)
I have trouble understanding why the Astros would want to emasculate the manager so completely, though. Taking Hinch's word for it, you have a manger completely opposed to on-field activities, occurring during the game, who doesn't even feel like he can ask the players he manages to stop. And our response is to say that he should write a weasel-worded email to his boss with a copy to file?

The manager needs more power than that, or the players will run wild.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 07, 2020 at 04:57 PM (#5922743)
I have trouble understanding why the Astros would want to emasculate the manager so completely, though. Taking Hinch's word for it, you have a manger completely opposed to on-field activities, occurring during the game, who doesn't even feel like he can ask the players he manages to stop. And our response is to say that he should write a weasel-worded email to his boss with a copy to file?

The manager needs more power than that, or the players will run wild.


I think we agree with you. The email is a tool to gain back some power.

If he emails Luhnow and says, "It's come to my attention that players have been stealing signs in violation of MLB rules, and I'm going to stop it" that backs Luhnow into a bit of a corner. That email will be discoverable in any MLB investigation or legal dispute between Hinch and the team.
   23. DCA Posted: February 07, 2020 at 04:58 PM (#5922744)
Hinch had a bit of odd post-playing career, moving from front-office to dugout to front-office to dugout. I think part of his success in his most recent manager role was actually understanding how he fit into the organizational hierarchy.

I'd say it's less than 50/50 that he manages again, but I think it's very likely he ends up with another front-office role that is at least the hierarchical equivalent of manager.
   24. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: February 07, 2020 at 05:27 PM (#5922753)
I think we agree with you. The email is a tool to gain back some power.

If he emails Luhnow and says, "It's come to my attention that players have been stealing signs in violation of MLB rules, and I'm going to stop it" that backs Luhnow into a bit of a corner. That email will be discoverable in any MLB investigation or legal dispute between Hinch and the team.

This is feasible if Luhnow was clueless about the sign stealing, but does anyone really believe that Luhnow didn't know all about it?
   25. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: February 07, 2020 at 05:40 PM (#5922758)
Turns out that the WSJ just posted an article detailing how Luhnow did know about the sign stealing system.
During MLB’s probe, Luhnow maintained that he had no knowledge of any of the Astros’ misconduct. However, Manfred wrote in his letter that “there is more than sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that you knew—and overwhelming evidence that you should have known—that the Astros maintained a sign-stealing program that violated MLB’s rules.”

The article mentions that there were a number of emails sent to Luhnow about the sign stealing system, but Luhnow claimed he didn't read to the bottom of those messages. Very believable!
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 07, 2020 at 05:40 PM (#5922759)
This is feasible if Luhnow was clueless about the sign stealing, but does anyone really believe that Luhnow didn't know all about it?

Especially if Luhnow does know, the email gives Hinch power. The e-mail takes away Luhnow's plausible deniability. It's Hinch's way of showing his committed. He's burned his boats by putting down in writing that he knows they're cheating. He's also put Luhnow in a situation where he can't deny knowledge when MLB comes knocking.

Even better would be to email Luhnow, and cc Crane.

   27. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: February 07, 2020 at 05:48 PM (#5922760)
Especially if Luhnow does know, the email gives Hinch power. The e-mail takes away Luhnow's plausible deniability. It's Hinch's way of showing his committed. He's burned his boats by putting down in writing that he knows they're cheating. He's also put Luhnow in a situation where he can't deny knowledge when MLB comes knocking.

Even better would be to email Luhnow, and cc Crane.

It makes Hinch look better, but he is still going to lose his job. I don't think burning his boss is going to help him get another job in MLB either.
   28. Omineca Greg Posted: February 07, 2020 at 06:12 PM (#5922770)
Hinch will never be in a high profile job with MLB again. Too much baggage that baseball doesn't want anyone to ever remember.

ASAP, he will be hired by somebody, somewhere, in an obscure role where he does little work and gets paid well.

In this way, he will be bought off and not make trouble for the organisation (and by "organisation" I mean "baseball", not "Astros"). By doing it this way, MLB will ensure that he keeps his mouth shut, and only pisses out of the tent, and never in.

Do none of you guys work for sleazy, multi-national corporations?
   29. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 07, 2020 at 08:01 PM (#5922790)
The e-mail takes away Luhnow's plausible deniability.
Well, as long as Hinch put it in the subject line, apparently.
   30. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: February 07, 2020 at 08:01 PM (#5922791)
The fact that Alex Rodriguez went from being a pariah suspended for a year to a well-regarded speaker on the game should demonstrate nearly any reputation can be improved. Lesser pariahs but nonetheless seen differently, if you prefer, would be Bonds and McGwire working in MLB dugouts after their playing careers.

And Hinch doesn't need to convince any team he behaved perfectly, he just needs to convince one interested GM that he's learned valuable lessons from his Astros time that, in combination with other good skills, make him worth hiring. Yes, you endure a few press conferences with questions about his time with Houston, but that stops once spring training games begin. Good managers in any industry aren't like BBTF commenters who cling to the past, e.g., need to bring up a 2013 incident every time Brian McCann's name is mentioned. Folks here might notice the rest of his career was without incident.

Edit: Case in point.
   31. Sunday silence Posted: February 07, 2020 at 08:09 PM (#5922795)
It makes Hinch look better, but he is still going to lose his job. I don't think burning his boss is going to help him get another job in MLB either.


So this would suggest that what Hinch actually did was a better way to maybe stay in MLB?
   32. Sunday silence Posted: February 07, 2020 at 08:14 PM (#5922796)
he fact that Alex Rodriguez went from being a pariah suspended for a year to a well-regarded speaker on the game should demonstrate nearly any reputation can be improved. Lesser pariahs but nonetheless seen differently, if you prefer, would be Bonds and McGwire working in MLB dugouts after their playing careers.


There's no denying that this happens in every industry. Im guessing its more likely that Hinch finds another job in MLB soon after the suspension is over.
   33. The Duke Posted: February 07, 2020 at 08:20 PM (#5922797)
The email basically would back luhnow into a corner. On the one hand, he has a directive from the MLB not to do this so he can’t ignore it. On the other hand, he can’t fire Hinch because if Hinch was Willing to put it in an email there’s no telling what he would do if he were fired. And who fires the manager of the best team in baseball for no reason?

Luhnow would have called Cora and told him to cut it out immediately. Then a few weeks later he would have sent the MLB directive around to cover his ass and finally he would then tell Crane that he found out about the cheating, put a stop to it and trained the management team on the directive. At no point would he have even discussed or emailed with Hinch. Cora would let it slip to Hinch that the trash can banging wasn’t working and that would be the end of that.



   34. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: February 07, 2020 at 10:28 PM (#5922821)
So this would suggest that what Hinch actually did was a better way to maybe stay in MLB?

I think so. I don’t think there was a way that he could escape from this unscathed. I suspect there are many in baseball that will respect him for taking the punishment and will help his come back once he is eligible again.
   35. base ball chick Posted: February 07, 2020 at 10:41 PM (#5922825)
cmon duke

pls

the email wouldn't back luhnow into any sort of corner. are you serious? he never saw the email. it went into spam by accident. he missed it among all the zillions of emails he got. he marked it read by accident. whatevs

luhnow had serious power. hinch was there to wave his little hat and smile at the media. this isn't the 70s with dick williams and earl weaver and billy martin. this is YEARS past this. the managers don't make decisions about ANYTHING any more. they are figureheads. just like billy beane did with art howe all those years ago

he can most certainly fire hinch. for just about ANY reason. they can even go all boston redsox on him and make up some crap about beer and fried chicken, like what was done to francona. the astros basically OWN the houston media - it is why evan drellich doesn't work there any more. it's why one reporter got immediately reassigned (ahem) from the astros beat when i told him about one of the team's minor coverup/lies and he printed it (the truth).

if hinch ever wanted to work in organized baseball again, he sure as heck is not opening his mouth. let alone bucking luhnow - not in THAT front office especially.

with the way that front office ran, it is horsepoo to say that luhnow had noooooooooooooo idea what was going on., he knew everything and his taubman and co acolytes repoerted everything to him.

luhnow wasn't going to tell cora to cut anything out that was successful and that kind of person SURE as heck wasn't gonna be dictated to by no underpaid underling like hinch

hinch is gonna get work again, bcause he DIDN'T rat out his bosses/organization and he ploayed along like a good soldier. that is valued, not your idea of honesty
   36. Omineca Greg Posted: February 07, 2020 at 10:52 PM (#5922827)
I totally agree with #35, especially the last line.
   37. MuttsIdolCochrane Posted: February 08, 2020 at 06:49 AM (#5922843)
Still a despicable liar. He had so many chances to be honorable. Did Altuve or anyone wear a buzzer? (Well of course; we've all seen the video and JAs lying explanation that he was "shy" has been disproven by dozens of pictures of him preening about half naked.) He could have said yes, no, or at least "to the best of my knowledge no". Instead, he chose not to answer. Who really thinks these liars, cheats and scumbags will ever be honest? Wait until Spring Training begins. They will all continue their lying, obfuscating and demeaning the game. Such a pity when A-Rod has more integrity (not saying integrity, just more than Altuve, Bregman, Springer and this group of cheats - who by the way HANK AARON believes should be banned for life). The entire team should be made to wear Black Sox. Interesting that the Black Sox were found NOT GUILTY and banned. The Astros were found GUILTY and rewarded.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 08, 2020 at 11:58 AM (#5922866)
cmon duke

pls

the email wouldn't back luhnow into any sort of corner. are you serious? he never saw the email. it went into spam by accident. he missed it among all the zillions of emails he got. he marked it read by accident. whatevs

luhnow had serious power. hinch was there to wave his little hat and smile at the media. this isn't the 70s with dick williams and earl weaver and billy martin. this is YEARS past this. the managers don't make decisions about ANYTHING any more. they are figureheads. just like billy beane did with art howe all those years ago

he can most certainly fire hinch. for just about ANY reason. they can even go all boston redsox on him and make up some crap about beer and fried chicken, like what was done to francona. the astros basically OWN the houston media - it is why evan drellich doesn't work there any more. it's why one reporter got immediately reassigned (ahem) from the astros beat when i told him about one of the team's minor coverup/lies and he printed it (the truth).


Lisa, you don't know how regulators work (MLB in this case is the regulator). They don't give a #### about those excuses. They don't have to. There is virtually no burden of proof for MLB to ban Luhnow and Crane for 10 years, or life.

Luhnow has no power that MLB cares about. They are perfectly willing to end his career tomorrow if it's good PR for them.

I agree with Duke. Hinch sends that email, cc-ing Crane, he's untouchable. They can't fire him, or he'll drop a dime to MLB. Crane and Luhnow couldn't dare do anything to him. Hinch would have a nuclear deterrent.
   39. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: February 08, 2020 at 12:37 PM (#5922871)
Lisa, you don't know how regulators work (MLB in this case is the regulator).

How can MLB be an effective regulator when it's literally owned by the entities it's purporting to regulate? Crane has a much more concrete interest in Hinch's (and Luhnow's) employment status than the other 29 owners do, and MLB will act accordingly. That's not to say MLB will never act, but the bar is much higher than you're presenting here.
   40. base ball chick Posted: February 08, 2020 at 12:49 PM (#5922874)
now there is a possibility that hinch could have blackmailed luhnow and crane into stopping Operation Chean-n-lie. but AFTER that, if you think that shttbag like luhnow and crane are going to stand for being blackmailed by an underling like hinch, i got more than a few bridges to sell you. you SERIOUSLY think they are gonna let some little cap waver tell THEM how to run a ballclub - people who think of wifebeaters as "distressed assets"? and PLEEZE don't tell me that luhnow had nooooooooooo idea about anything his FO did.

this is reality, not a reality show

they have a whole lot of ways of fixing his lil red wagon. they could fire him the minute they have anything like an excuse with the help of the media in houston. making sure they do whatever they need to do to make him look really bad. billionaires club got a way of blackballing people they got a problem with. they can say that he's "not a team player or worse" and if they dropped the scam, hinch no longer got any sort of club at all

if hinch gonna go blackmailing powerful people, he better have a different career in mind. unless you think that people who accumulate massive wealth like crane shrug off blackmailers
   41. Omineca Greg Posted: February 08, 2020 at 01:30 PM (#5922877)
Just stopping in to say "Hello".

Hello.

And once again I totally agree with Lisa. I'll let her continue to make the case, because I think she's doing a marvelous job. But I'll add in this...

Hinch sends that email, cc-ing Crane, he's untouchable. They can't fire him, or he'll drop a dime to MLB. Crane and Luhnow couldn't dare do anything to him. Hinch would have a nuclear deterrent.


Hinch didn't send an email. I think people are trying to imply he's either stupid or a sleazeball. And that could be, I wouldn't pretend to know the guy.

But there's a third possibility...

Hinch properly understood the power dynamic.

That's where I put my money.

And snapper, what makes you think the MLB regulators want anything else than the problem to go away? They're not in the business of right and wrong, they're in the business of fixing things. Rendering inert and stable what is volatile and unstable. I think Lisa knows how the regulators work just fine.
   42. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 08, 2020 at 03:51 PM (#5922897)
And snapper, what makes you think the MLB regulators want anything else than the problem to go away? They're not in the business of right and wrong, they're in the business of fixing things. Rendering inert and stable what is volatile and unstable. I think Lisa knows how the regulators work just fine.

Because they punished the #### out of the Astros? Did you not noticed the $50M in draft picks they lost?

MLB was licking their chops to make an example of the Astros. That was Hinch's leverage.

   43. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 08, 2020 at 03:56 PM (#5922898)
now there is a possibility that hinch could have blackmailed luhnow and crane into stopping Operation Chean-n-lie. but AFTER that, if you think that shttbag like luhnow and crane are going to stand for being blackmailed by an underling like hinch, i got more than a few bridges to sell you. you SERIOUSLY think they are gonna let some little cap waver tell THEM how to run a ballclub - people who think of wifebeaters as "distressed assets"? and PLEEZE don't tell me that luhnow had nooooooooooo idea about anything his FO did.

this is reality, not a reality show

they have a whole lot of ways of fixing his lil red wagon. they could fire him the minute they have anything like an excuse with the help of the media in houston. making sure they do whatever they need to do to make him look really bad. billionaires club got a way of blackballing people they got a problem with. they can say that he's "not a team player or worse" and if they dropped the scam, hinch no longer got any sort of club at all

if hinch gonna go blackmailing powerful people, he better have a different career in mind. unless you think that people who accumulate massive wealth like crane shrug off blackmailers


It's not blackmail. He has documentary evidence that he told his superiors there was cheating going on and he was going to stop the cheating immediately.

They have three choices: 1) let his stop the cheating, or 2) fire Hinch, or 3) authorize the team to ignore him.

If they do 1) in which case Hinch has achieved his goal and done the right thing. If they do 2) or 3) Hinch calls the league and shows them the evidence that he was fired for trying to stop cheating, and the Astros get severely punished.

The absolute worst thing that could happen to Hinch is he gets paid for the remaining years of his contract and then can't get another job for a team. Which is way better than the situation he is in today.

These guys aren't actually powerful outside of their tiny little world.
   44. Omineca Greg Posted: February 08, 2020 at 04:33 PM (#5922902)
Because they punished the #### out of the Astros? Did you not noticed the $50M in draft picks they lost?

MLB was licking their chops to make an example of the Astros. That was Hinch's leverage.


Well, maybe.

Once the cat is out of the bag, then, yes there are other considerations. I feel that the Astros are being punished more for embarrassing the league, and less for breaking the rules. If this were all internal, that is to say, only the involved parties and the league brass knew...like our hypothetical... it would have played out differently. I can't say for sure what would have happened, but the consideration of the public image would have been taken out of the equation.

But I agree with your next one, I think if Hinch tries to use leverage in that way, the higher ups would have said, "Oh, yes, you're right that's awful. Put a stop to that right now.". Really, it's very little skin off their teeth to keep cheating or not.

Then they would have waited a reasonable amount of time, and then character assassinated him until the whole world thought he was the scumbaggiest of the scumbaggery. Then fired him. Which you're right, is probably preferable to where he is now, but it still isn't a wonderful place to be.

I like this conversation though, it centers on how one feels about the dynamics of large organisations, and how much faith you have that they do the right thing, as opposed to being an orgy of political backstabbing and maneuvering. I'm of the thought that plutocrats don't like it when their hirelings threaten to publicly humiliate them if the underling doesn't get his way. But, YMMV, as the kids say.

Actually...I don't think the kids do say that. They probably say something that I haven't even heard of, some sort of dank meme thing.
   45. depletion Posted: February 08, 2020 at 04:34 PM (#5922903)
I pretty much agree with 43. No way they can fire him without Hinch dropping the bomb on them, in which case Hinch has a much better chance of getting a managing job than he does now.
   46. Omineca Greg Posted: February 08, 2020 at 04:56 PM (#5922906)
No way they can fire him without Hinch dropping the bomb on them...


Not that day they can't. But they wait awhile, withdraw support from him, at first subtly, then more intensely. Plant a few stories (unfortunately for whistleblowers in sports, there's a whole industry built around gossip, and the fans seem to have an insatiable appetite for it) here and there.

We'll never know, and I totally agree that the cheating would have stopped. But if it took Hinch needing to enter a corporate espionage type scenario to get it done, then he was in a bad place to be with no good way out.
   47. base ball chick Posted: February 08, 2020 at 05:30 PM (#5922910)
41. Omineca Greg Posted: February 08, 2020 at 01:30 PM (#5922877)

And snapper, what makes you think the MLB regulators want anything else than the problem to go away? They're not in the business of right and wrong, they're in the business of fixing things. Rendering inert and stable what is volatile and unstable.



I think Lisa knows how the regulators work just fine.


- thank you boy

and what i DO know is males. and what i DO know is that males with a great deal of power are NOT gonna stand for being blackmailed by some significantly less powerful person who is gonna continue to hold it over them.

he sends the email to luhnow and crane and says that he is gonna notify MLB publically or not, if they don't obey his dictate.
what, you think they're STUPID?
- they stop operation cheat-n-lie with an organization-wide you-bad-BAD-widdow-boys-gotcher-hand-caight-in-the-cookie-jar talk, so that they can say they were shocked SHOCKED to find cheating goin on even though manny-poo had issued his edict, and by golly by gum they put a stop to it right off. all righteous, like

manfred doesn't WANT it to go further. cmon. - remember how he was gonna investigate EVERYONE and suddenly, it was only the astros until he found out cora/beltran were involved, and so it had to be the red sox too, gosh durn it

and then, you seriously think, you REALLY think that crane won't be plotting how to destroy/blackball the dirty rat who had the NERVE to blackmail him? really?? he's gonna let it slide, allow some nobody to dictate to HIM?

and i haven't even got started on luhnow, who has gotten a heck of a lot slimier and dirty than he was under mozeliak. you don't think he's gonna be plotting some serious revenge?

the minute you give into a blackmailer, it never stops. and if you publish what the blackmailer thought you wanted kept secret, he got ZERO weapon to hold over you no mo. and if hinch goes to the media, HE'S gonna look bad because he waited ALL that time to get around to telling. if he rats out players, or, really, anyone by name, he's finished and i mean FINISHED in organized baseball.

NO ONE wants to employ a rat. especially when the employers are themselves rats of the worst kind, so i would say he might could get his way and get the cheating he knew about to stop, but at the cost of a baseball career. he could always go on and be a minister or counselor, or something
   48. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: February 08, 2020 at 05:53 PM (#5922913)
Once the cat is out of the bag, then, yes there are other considerations. I feel that the Astros are being punished more for embarrassing the league, and less for breaking the rules.

Yes, MLB is going to do the corona virus thing as long as they can.

The counter-arguments here are being made with the benefit of hindsight. I don't see how Hinch or anyone else could have expected this level of outrage over sign-stealing, and that's the key to the leverage discussed. And of course much of the fuel flowing into the inferno doesn't exist if Hinch goes public a week after the trash can-banging starts. You can gauge how everyone analyzed the power dynamic by the length of time it took for this to come out in the open, even though plenty of former Astros knew what was going on.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 08, 2020 at 06:38 PM (#5922917)
and what i DO know is males. and what i DO know is that males with a great deal of power are NOT gonna stand for being blackmailed by some significantly less powerful person who is gonna continue to hold it over them.

he sends the email to luhnow and crane and says that he is gonna notify MLB publically or not, if they don't obey his dictate.
what, you think they're STUPID?
- they stop operation cheat-n-lie with an organization-wide you-bad-BAD-widdow-boys-gotcher-hand-caight-in-the-cookie-jar talk, so that they can say they were shocked SHOCKED to find cheating goin on even though manny-poo had issued his edict, and by golly by gum they put a stop to it right off. all righteous, like


It's not blackmail. Don't call it that. A subordinate telling his bosses "I've found wrongdoing and am going to stop it" is simply doing his job.

Threatening a rule breaker with exposure if they don't stop is not blackmail. Hinch would have been 100% in the right.
   50. LargeBill Posted: February 08, 2020 at 07:05 PM (#5922918)
I hesitate to use absolutes like "never," but I do strongly doubt he manages again. Not that he'll be blackballed or anything. No, the issue for him is the scarcity of opportunities. There are 30 teams and hundreds of MLB coaches, MiLB managers/coaches, and former MLB managers available and anxious every time an opening exists. Odds are stacked against him even without the scandal baggage. The baggage just makes it easier for teams to say "No thanks."
   51. base ball chick Posted: February 08, 2020 at 11:14 PM (#5922931)
49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 08, 2020 at 06:38 PM (#5922917)
and what i DO know is males. and what i DO know is that males with a great deal of power are NOT gonna stand for being blackmailed by some significantly less powerful person who is gonna continue to hold it over them.

he sends the email to luhnow and crane and says that he is gonna notify MLB publically or not, if they don't obey his dictate.
what, you think they're STUPID?
- they stop operation cheat-n-lie with an organization-wide you-bad-BAD-widdow-boys-gotcher-hand-caight-in-the-cookie-jar talk, so that they can say they were shocked SHOCKED to find cheating goin on even though manny-poo had issued his edict, and by golly by gum they put a stop to it right off. all righteous, like



It's not blackmail. Don't call it that. A subordinate telling his bosses "I've found wrongdoing and am going to stop it" is simply doing his job.


the subordinate would be telling his boss that the BOSS(ES) whose plan it is, is wrongdoing. the subordinate is not telling the boss that his own subordinates are doing wrong. there is NO way that neither luhnow, whose taubman acolytes conceived this cheating, nor crane did not know and/or approve. the subordinate is, in fact, in your scenario, telling the boss that he, the subordinate, is gonna tell the boss that he can't implement his own plan.

that self same subordinate tells his bosses that if they don't stop using their own plan and do what HE wants, he is gonna tell on them to the commissioner/media. that is, in fact, out and out blackmail.

Threatening a rule breaker with exposure if they don't stop is not blackmail. Hinch would have been 100% in the right.


- in this context, it is. blackmail doesn't have to involve money or gain, it is forcing someone to do something against his/her will/interest or they will be subjected to whatever the threat is

now i will agree with you that hinch would have, in fact, have been in the right, as stopping the cheating would be honorable and moral but it would be career suicide.
   52. The Duke Posted: February 08, 2020 at 11:30 PM (#5922932)
Telling your boss in an email that you have found cheating is not blackmail. In fact the purpose of the email is to give the boss a chance without you pointing a finger. However. I do agree that there is a risk that 1-2 years later Luhnow let’s you go. Still, better than where he is today which is a pariah
   53. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 08, 2020 at 11:43 PM (#5922934)
After the Red Sox and Yankees punishment, and the memo from Manfred, Hinch should have known that there would be a lot of outrage about this stuff.

But either way, I don’t understand why people are defending Hinch here. In the most charitable interpretation, he demonstrated no leadership or backbone.
   54. Zach Posted: February 09, 2020 at 12:25 AM (#5922936)
the subordinate would be telling his boss that the BOSS(ES) whose plan it is, is wrongdoing. the subordinate is not telling the boss that his own subordinates are doing wrong. there is NO way that neither luhnow, whose taubman acolytes conceived this cheating, nor crane did not know and/or approve.

This is why I was calling it a weasel worded email.

Hinch would be "informing" Luhnow that Luhnow's subordinates were implementing a scheme that they came up with while working for Luhnow, involving multiple departments of Luhnow's organization and most likely occurring with Luhnow's direct knowledge and approval.

Hinch and Luhnow both knew it was going on, both knew that Hinch disapproved, and both knew that it was still going on after Hinch had expressed his disapproval.

What's more, Hinch had his own duty to obey MLB rules. Writing an email doesn't absolve him of that duty.

In that situation, Hinch has two options. He can resign, or he can resign himself to the fact that he lost this fight. He chose option 2, and vented about it by beating up some monitors.

Writing a tattling email is just option 2 with the addition that he gets fired instead of resigning.
   55. Zach Posted: February 09, 2020 at 12:28 AM (#5922937)
The power move is to make this a confidence vote: we follow the rules or I'm out the door. The downside is a real risk that you're out the door.

Complaining about ongoing misconduct is still accepting misconduct.
   56. Zach Posted: February 09, 2020 at 01:13 AM (#5922939)
The counter-arguments here are being made with the benefit of hindsight. I don't see how Hinch or anyone else could have expected this level of outrage over sign-stealing, and that's the key to the leverage discussed.

The issue is only partially about sign stealing. The thing that makes it a confidence issue is that Hinch, who opposed the stealing, didn't have the power to tell the players to cut it out *in his own dugout.*

A manager is well within his rights to say "If I think it's cheating, and I tell the players to cut it out, you have to take my side or I'm walking out the door."

The correct move is to suspend the player banging on the trash can for "violation of team rules" the first time he does it, THEN send an email to the General Manager explaining that you did it because he was cheating. Then the GM can't fire you without being pro cheating or unsuspend the player without giving you a clearcut reason for resigning and making a big stink on the way out. There's no stink of blackmail because now your email is documentation that the team is doing the right thing.

Suspending the player gives Hinch escalation dominance: everything Luhnow could potentially do has a stronger counter by Hinch, because if worst comes to worst he can resign and say why.

Not suspending the player gives Luhnow escalation dominance: everything Hinch could do has a stronger counter by Luhnow, because if worst comes to worst he can fire Hinch and Hinch can't say anything without torching his career.
   57. Sunday silence Posted: February 09, 2020 at 01:31 AM (#5922941)

Because they punished the #### out of the Astros? Did you not noticed the $50M in draft picks they lost?

MLB was licking their chops to make an example of the Astros. That was Hinch's leverage.


BUt this is all after the fact reasoning, No? How is Hinch or anyone supposed to know how all that is going to go down?

if players have been cheating for a long time by this and similar methods, then conventional wisdom might just be that nothing will happen. After all, we dont know what sort of sign stealing stuff has been going on for years. And whatever has been going on has been unpunished.

NOw Hinch is supposed to know that they will throw the book at the Astros organization. WHy? How is he supposed to know that?
   58. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: February 09, 2020 at 06:59 AM (#5922958)
The correct move is to suspend the player banging on the trash can for "violation of team rules" the first time he does it, THEN send an email to the General Manager explaining that you did it because he was cheating.

I doubt it is as easy to suspend a player as you're describing. Even ignoring the realities of a post-Moneyball game, dealing with the MLBPA demands some protocols in delivering a suspension notice. I think I agree with a larger point, that Hinch's only ethical course was to go to Luhnow and threaten to quit if this #### doesn't end. I also think the most likely outcome from such an ultimatum is Hinch is shown the door.

After the Red Sox and Yankees punishment, and the memo from Manfred, Hinch should have known that there would be a lot of outrage about this stuff.

These events were months, maybe years, after the Astros had gone down the cheaters' path, so by the time this news arrived, Hinch was dirty.

And, again, MLB sat on its hands with the Astros until the article in the Athletic last November, even though the Astros' sign-stealing schemes go back at least to 2016. More generally, I've been hearing rumors about illegal sign stealing schemes since I started following baseball in the mid-1970s. I am guessing the Astros, Yankees, and Red Sox aren't the only teams that have crossed the line for sign stealing in the last five years, but AFAICT the Red Sox/Yankees punishments are pretty much it. I mean, when I see somebody like Harrison Bader go from a decent hitter in 2018 to a guy who's absolutely helpless against breaking pitches in 2019, then I wonder what's changed. Ultimately it's hard for me to believe that MLB would've done anything if the public had responded to Fiers the same way it responds to whatever Belichick did last year.

FWIW my view is Hinch is a weasel here, trying to have it both ways. I don't blame him if he wants to collect a nice salary, and look the other way while Luhnow runs his experiments. This is all wink-wink nod-nod stuff. But if he's going to cash the checks, then furrowing his brow and destroying monitors aren't meaningful indicators of ethical behavior.
   59. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 09, 2020 at 09:29 AM (#5922966)

I thought that the field manager and GM now have to sign a certification each season stating that their team is not engaging in electronic sign-stealing. Was that implemented during or after the 2018 season? Because if Hinch signed that knowing about the cheating, then not only was he keeping silent/looking the other way, but he was affirmatively lying to MLB when he had an explicit responsibility to do otherwise.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 09, 2020 at 11:44 AM (#5922985)
I thought that the field manager and GM now have to sign a certification each season stating that their team is not engaging in electronic sign-stealing. Was that implemented during or after the 2018 season? Because if Hinch signed that knowing about the cheating, then not only was he keeping silent/looking the other way, but he was affirmatively lying to MLB when he had an explicit responsibility to do otherwise.

He definitely needed to act before he signed that.
   61. Zach Posted: February 09, 2020 at 11:50 AM (#5922986)
I doubt it is as easy to suspend a player as you're describing.

It doesn't have to be a formal suspension; he could just bench the guy and tell everyone why.

The manager is the guy who apportions playing time. He has all the power he needs to stop a scheme that was going on inside the dugout tunnel during the game, provided the front office backs him up.

If the front office doesn't back him up, maybe that's not the worst job to get fired from.
   62. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 09, 2020 at 02:08 PM (#5923010)
It looks like it was only implemented in 2019:

Link

To make sure teams comply with the rule, MLB is holding general managers and managers personally responsible for compliance. Before and after each season, every GM (or president of baseball operations) and manager must sign a document professing that his club is in compliance with the anti-sign stealing rules and that he knew of no “pre-meditated plan to steal signs,” a source said.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Jim Wisinski
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogEmpty Stadium Sports Will Be Really Weird
(4759 - 1:34am, Jun 04)
Last: Mayor Blomberg

NewsblogOT – NBA CoronaThread 2020
(3209 - 1:20am, Jun 04)
Last: never forget: the pee tape is 57i66135

NewsblogChris Archer out until 2021 due to thoracic outlet surgery
(26 - 1:19am, Jun 04)
Last: Walt Davis

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1927 Results
(2 - 10:15pm, Jun 03)
Last: DL from MN

Hall of Merit2021 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(291 - 9:24pm, Jun 03)
Last: Dr. Chaleeko

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-3-2020
(14 - 9:07pm, Jun 03)
Last: The Honorable Ardo

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1927 Discussion
(9 - 8:58pm, Jun 03)
Last: Cblau

NewsblogOT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (June 2020)
(17 - 8:56pm, Jun 03)
Last: Hysterical & Useless

NewsblogReigning CL MVP Hayato Sakamoto one of two Giants players to test positive for COVID-19
(4 - 8:25pm, Jun 03)
Last: Ron J

NewsblogSources: MLB mulls shorter season, full prorated salaries for players
(33 - 6:50pm, Jun 03)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogRoyals won’t lay off or furlough baseball operations employees despite MLB uncertainty
(3 - 5:15pm, Jun 03)
Last: Zach

NewsblogJudge: Len Dykstra’s reputation is so bad it’s legally impossible to libel him
(27 - 4:09pm, Jun 03)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

Gonfalon CubsBeing cheap is not a plan
(108 - 1:40pm, Jun 03)
Last: Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1927 Ballot
(7 - 1:38pm, Jun 03)
Last: MrC.

NewsblogOT: Wrestling Thread November 2014
(2438 - 11:17pm, Jun 02)
Last: Tubbs is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle

-->

Page rendered in 0.6296 seconds
46 querie(s) executed