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Monday, February 17, 2020

Rob Manfred offers little insight, shows contempt for reporters in press conference

Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke at a press conference, addressing the Astros cheating scandal and other topics on Sunday evening. It did not go well.

To start, the press conference was not broadcast officially on MLB’s own TV channel (it aired the 1988 movie Bull Durham instead), nor could any mention to it or link to the live stream be found anywhere on MLB.com. When the actual questions began, Manfred’s answers were circuitous or simply illogical given other comments he has made in the past. On more than one occasion, he showed contempt for reporters for doing their jobs — and, some might argue, doing his job — holding players and front office personnel accountable.

Last month, Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal broke a story about the Astros’ “dark arts” and “Codebreaker” operation, based on a letter Manfred sent to then-GM Jeff Luhnow. Diamond was among the reporters present for Manfred’s press conference on Sunday. Per The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler, Manfred addressed Diamond, saying, “You know, congratulations. You got a private letter that, you know, I sent to a club official. Nice reporting on your part.” MLB’s response to the depth of the Astros’ cheating ways was lacking and, without Diamond’s reporting, we would have known how deeply lacking that response was. It is understandable that Manfred would be salty about it, since it exposed him as doing his job poorly, but it was an immature, unrestrained response from someone in charge of the entire league.

Onto the actual topic at hand, Manfred said he felt like the punishment doled out to the Astros was enough. Per Chris Cotillo, Manfred said Astros players “have been hurt by this” and will forever be questioned about their achievements in 2017 and ’18. Some players disagree. Former pitcher Phil Hughes even suggested the players have a work stoppage over this issue.

So, what does Manfred have to do at this point before the owners decide it isn’t worth it to keep him around?

 

QLE Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:25 AM | 120 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bad ideas, press conferences, rob manfred

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   1. Mayor Blomberg Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:15 AM (#5924825)
And the Times's write-up of the same.

"But now there seem to be 29 teams of saints and one dirty band of sinners from Houston, absolved by a benevolent commissioner who granted immunity in exchange for confessions. That decision now undermines Manfred with fans and players, and he knows it. Before he even took a question on Sunday, he asserted that shame was punishment enough for the Astros.

"'I think if you look at the faces of the Houston players, as they’ve been out there publicly addressing this issue, they have been hurt by this,' Manfred said. 'They will live with questions about what went on in 2017 and 2018 for the rest of their lives.'

"Sad faces? Constant questions? Apparently it is up to the news media to do what Manfred could not: impose some kind of lasting toll on the Astros."
   2. Sunday silence Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:37 AM (#5924827)
I think that's the best summary: Manfred can't do his job and hey let the public do the shaming.

I was trying to defend Manfred but at this point he seems like he's two steps behind whatever the latest news is. Whether its the buzzers or the Red Sox or public opinion.
   3. The Duke Posted: February 17, 2020 at 06:25 AM (#5924829)
Owners will only fire him if he hurts their bottom-line.

“The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act.”

If this doesn’t achieve that, I don’t know what will. “A piece of metal”! Why would the owners let this guy stay in the job one day longer
   4. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 17, 2020 at 08:07 AM (#5924831)
Jill Vejnoska: "Whereas if the reporter had instead heard the contents of the letter banged out in code on a garbage can, Manfred would've totally been cool with it."

Manfred, after 7 minutes of taking questions: “This has been really fun, but I’d like to move on to other topics at some point.”

Bill Simmons: "Rob Manfred - filming his own '30 for 30,' doesn’t seem to realize it."

Kyle Elston: "The only guy who can make Prince Andrew’s PR look like he nailed it."

CiCi Simmons: "Well, if it’s just a piece of metal, it’s shouldn’t be a big deal to take it from them."

Justin Meehan: "Pitchers need to throw at Manfred"

https://twitter.com/Dodgers_Blues/status/1229235437920669696
   5. AndrewJ Posted: February 17, 2020 at 08:08 AM (#5924832)
"Piece of metal" will be Manfred's "binders of women" or "basket of deplorables."
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 17, 2020 at 08:14 AM (#5924833)
he asserted that shame was punishment enough for the Astros.
If only they had any.
   7. Nakagura775 Posted: February 17, 2020 at 08:21 AM (#5924834)
Aren’t there a bunch of people on this site who want this story to go away?
   8. Lonnie Smith for president Posted: February 17, 2020 at 09:49 AM (#5924843)
Wanting the story to go away would be just fine with me.

More context around the timing of these developments and adding fuel to the fire would be fine, too. Just as the Basic Agreement is expiring, the commissioner (agent of chaos on behalf of owners) stirs up trouble in the membership ranks of organized labor? Merely coincidence, I'm sure. Reviving the zombie corpse of Pete Rose and his legion of gambling equivocators is but frosting on this delicious cake of divide-and-further-conquer.
   9. Nakagura775 Posted: February 17, 2020 at 09:58 AM (#5924846)
I mean it’s probably one of the top 5 baseball stories of our lifetime and speaks to the entire integrity of MLB but sure, it should just go away.
   10. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:07 AM (#5924847)
I’m definitely in the “want it to go away” camp. I personally don’t think it’s one of the top 5 baseball stories of the winter let alone of our lifetime.* “MLB team steals signs” is not some dramatic new thing. Look, the Astros broke the rules and have been deservedly punished but the swooning and Claude Rains-esque “I’m shocked to find gambling in this establishment” reactions have been comically over the top in my opinion. Teams and players have looked to gain an advantage since the dawn of competition. Spitballs, PEDs, sign stealing...hell read about the 19th century Orioles sometime. Again, the Astros broke the rules and deserve to be punished but the shock and dismay is comically over the top in my view.

* - OK that’s hyperbole I admit. It’s a big deal.
   11. flournoy Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:45 AM (#5924849)
It isn't any more scandalous than the Twins stealing World Series wins in 1987 and 1991 by manipulating the air conditioning depending on which team was hitting.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:51 AM (#5924850)
Any time someone from the Astros or MLB talks about this, it seems to get worse. How is that possible.
   13. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 17, 2020 at 11:01 AM (#5924851)
Been tracking comments pretty closely and the posters who wants this gone are the dude who runs the site who has been super consistent posting "hey please go away" and a few stray posters who are mostly astros fans. Big shock that.

I find this fascinating that with the ways players try to get an edge this is the one that apparently breaks the unwritten rules or whatever. Which I support because I think the Astros, like all of them players and management, can #### off forever. But that the players want even more punishments is really interesting. Is this just the act? Is it that for years the Astros have acted like they are so much smarter and better than everyone? Are some of the Astros players just not liked by their peers? All of this? Other?
   14. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 17, 2020 at 11:03 AM (#5924853)
12--because both mlb and Astros have no idea on how to talk about this situation. MLB completely rushed to a judgement before all facts were in while the Astros know they stole a title and in their DNA they are conditioned to gloat because we know now that was and looks to still be the culture. So they run back to what they know. Gloating.
   15. spycake Posted: February 17, 2020 at 11:45 AM (#5924860)
It isn't any more scandalous than the Twins stealing World Series wins in 1987 and 1991 by manipulating the air conditioning depending on which team was hitting.


Except it's a fairly dubious claim that the vents were manipulated at all (not to mention whether such manipulation would have any effect), and there's absolutely nothing connecting the alleged manipulation to the team or players.

https://twinstrivia.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Metrodome-air-flow.pdf

Other than that, yeah, exactly same amount of scandal. :)
   16. flournoy Posted: February 17, 2020 at 11:59 AM (#5924863)
Except it's a fairly dubious claim that the vents were manipulated at all


The guy who did it proudly admitted it, as your link confirms.
   17. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:13 PM (#5924866)
I find this fascinating that with the ways players try to get an edge this is the one that apparently breaks the unwritten rules or whatever.


It also breaks the written rules, which is why people are upset that the Astros weren't adequately punished for it.
   18. Mayor Blomberg Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:18 PM (#5924867)
Next up, study of when the Astros open the roof.
   19. asinwreck Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:26 PM (#5924870)
Mike Trout joins the list of players who want to see harsher punishments:
"It's sad for baseball," Trout said. "It's tough. They cheated. I don't agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys' careers have been affected, a lot of people lost jobs. It was tough. Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming -- it would be pretty fun up there."
   20. JL72 Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:31 PM (#5924872)
a lot of people lost jobs.


I am with him until this.
   21. spycake Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:33 PM (#5924873)
The guy who did it proudly admitted it, as your link confirms.


Yes, but if you read the whole article, there is still doubt about the veracity of that admission.

Or do you claim that a retired groundskeeper couldn't possibly exaggerate or even make something up?
   22. spycake Posted: February 17, 2020 at 12:38 PM (#5924875)
Mike Trout joins the list of players who want to see harsher punishments:


How many of these players are only suggest harsher punishment because they already know it can't happen, though?

Those players get the best of all worlds -- good PR for being anti-cheating, appearing "clean" themselves, but not actually impacting any fellow players (except adding some marginal bad PR for the Astros).
   23. Mayor Blomberg Posted: February 17, 2020 at 01:37 PM (#5924887)

How many of these players are only suggest harsher punishment because they already know it can't happen, though?


I give up, how many?
Please show all work.
   24. Lassus Posted: February 17, 2020 at 02:44 PM (#5924896)
I agree with Jose in #10.
   25. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:03 PM (#5924899)
I think this cloud stays over baseball for the entire season.

Which is great.

   26. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5924901)
10/24: So in sports where players are rarely united beyond the topic of earning more why are the players united in killing the Astros and Manfred? Seems more than just convenience or looking to take some easy position. Players seem genuinely pissed.
   27. Baldrick Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:18 PM (#5924902)
Been tracking comments pretty closely and the posters who wants this gone are the dude who runs the site who has been super consistent posting "hey please go away" and a few stray posters who are mostly astros fans. Big shock that.

I want it to go away but haven't been regularly posting that comment in these threads because it's a tedious, boring story and I mostly avoid conversations about it. I'll fully sign onto Jose's comment above.

I do like that it continues to make Manfred look bad, though, which is why I'm in this thread.
   28. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:32 PM (#5924904)
26 - I’m sure they are pissed. That’s fine they are welcome to be pissed. But let’s stop with the shock and dismay about it. Frankly I find a lot of the comments about this to be very reminiscent of the same hysteria during the heights of the PED scandal.

What’s done is done and can’t be changed. People have lost their jobs over this, a team has literally been fined the most they are allowed to be under Major League Baseball rules, it’s not like this was some minor penalty. Do we want to suspend every Astro for a year or ban them? Don’t get me wrong, I’d enjoy Yankee fans throwing a hissy over Gerrit Cole being banned for life but that would be ridiculous.

Changing the past is impossible*, it’s time to look forward. Get rid of the screens in the bullpens, dugouts and clubhouse and move forward.
   29. Lest we forget Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:38 PM (#5924907)
Lots of anger there. This is not going away, right? You can wish, but ... I don't think so.

MLB looks lame, the Astros' owner is a nincompoop, the Astros players sounded scripted. The true emotions we are getting are from the players who are pissed off, and someone like Verlander, who 'regrets' not having stepped up and done something to stop it. WHICH in my opinion is pretty lame of Verlander - just where was that veteran presence in the locker room?

This stinks all the way around.

This is not going away, right?
   30. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:40 PM (#5924909)
People have lost their jobs over this, a team has literally been fined the most they are allowed to be under Major League Baseball rules, it’s not like this was some minor penalty. Do we want to suspend every Astro for a year or ban them?

Two Astros management guys lost their jobs. The owner (who recently claimed the cheating had zero impact on games) was fined $5M (0.2% of his net worth).

The players have faced zero penalty, and have been pretty bold in public about it all. Some kind of penalty against the cheating players would have gone a long way towards quieting some of the fan outrage.


   31. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:46 PM (#5924914)
Barry - what punishments would have wanted? I read somewhere (sorry don’t remember where) that the MLB by-laws make the $5million fine the largest allowed so quite literally Manfred couldn’t do more. Do you want everyone in the front office fired? Banned for life? What about the players? What would be appropriate?

Here’s my thing. While I appreciate the desire to see the players punishedI feel like whatever was done wouldn’t “be enough.” 50 games? Should be 100. 100? Should have been a season. A season? Should have been lifetime! We saw this with PEDs, at the height of it all more than a few people argued for lifetime bans on a first offense.

I respect the position of wanting more done particularly to the players. But if you think that would have satisfied people I have to disagree.
   32. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:50 PM (#5924915)
I'll repeat: There was zero penalty for the players. Some kind of penalty would have made a difference.

And people are going to be anti-Astros for a while. You reap what you sow.
   33. Lest we forget Posted: February 17, 2020 at 03:50 PM (#5924916)
“Whether or not you put an asterisk or ask for the trophy back, I don’t think it makes that much difference," said Manfred.

Seriously? Not much difference? - now that is what I call some professionally spun horse crap.
   34. The Duke Posted: February 17, 2020 at 04:09 PM (#5924924)
I think the shock and dismay is, in fact, shock and dismay. It appears the Astros were doing much more than anyone else. The Red Sox story has been covered by the Athletic and it’s not the same as the Astros. The Apple Watch thing was real but I still don’t think it’s in the same arena.

No other team has been indicted which at this point you think would be making its way to the headlines. Manfred said the Astros were the only team being investigated. Crane said, after that, that they had forwarded names of seven teams to Manfred. All we hear though is crickets

It’s still early and maybe another team will be indicted but there are a lot of Astros who would dearly love to trap another team and they haven’t been able to do it - which has me believing the Astros are the only ones.
   35. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 17, 2020 at 04:15 PM (#5924928)
Barry - what punishments would have wanted?


Strip them of the title!
   36. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 17, 2020 at 04:50 PM (#5924942)
I think a penalty option is the use of forfeits. Astros lose potential victories making it harder to get to the playoffs. Players lose opportunities to generate stats which has to hurt. And add in the Astros have to allocate funds to make up for the vistor's projected gate receipts. So the Astros are punished both competitively and financially. And the other teams benefit at the Astros expense.

And reduces the chances of retaliation since of all things that has the commissioner's attention.

What that mix of forfeits would be is open to discussion. But the commish declaring some forfeiture policy against Houston to me would be an effective way to discourage this scale of bullshit in the future
   37. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 17, 2020 at 05:02 PM (#5924946)
The Dodgers' Justin Turner: "For him to devalue [the World Series trophy] the way he did yesterday just tells me how out of touch he is with the players in this game. At this point the only thing devaluing that trophy is that it says 'commissioner' on it."
   38. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 17, 2020 at 05:04 PM (#5924947)
And you spread it out over several years so the Astros cannot say forfeit a game against every opponent in a single season and make the whole thing go away fast.

Better yet you let the opponent pick the forfeit. So the pitching matchups have you facing Verlander and you go no, forfeit time ########.
   39. Walt Davis Posted: February 17, 2020 at 05:36 PM (#5924951)
Put me down with Jose as well. And rather than the Twins' AC shenanigans, there was the white suit guy in Toronto. Lots of smoke on that one, nothing happened that I recall.

And if you don't grant somebody immunity, you probably don't get to the bottom of it. Possibly he could have offered around plea deals (some guys get 10-30 game suspensions) instead or maybe MLB could have built the case around testimony from lower-level FO employees granted immunity. But it's more important to get to the truth and it's more important to root out the FO culture. Still a mis-reading of the PR fallout and possibly you work out some deal such that a couple of players fall on their swords.

Like Jose, how much is enough? Guys who get caught throwing spitballs used to get, what, 10 games (it's been so long since somebody was caught -- you almost never even see guys frisked anymore). Sosa got, I think, 5-6 games for the superball bat. Guys who get into fights or are deemed to have intentionally thrown at a batter get a few games.

We did see this in PEDs. First-time bust was originally just 10 games. Then the finger-wagger got caught and there was an immediate cry for 50 games. Then ARod got caught and there was an immediate cry for 80 games. Melky was gonna be eligible again in the playoffs so we had to change that rule (nobody cared that Mota had been susspended earlier that year and played in the playoffs) and he was gonna win a batting title which somehow was wrong, wrong, wrong so even he caved to the pressure and asked not to be "awarded" the title.

Which is another parallel to PEDs. Nobody really cared if Guillermo Mota used PEDs. If this had been the Orioles cheating their way to 4 more wins, this would have gone away by now and nobody would be talking about the integrity of the game. But if you wag your finger or set a record or win then it threatens the very fabric of the game.

Anyway, if it was possible to find out what happened while also doling out appropriate punishment to the most heavily involved players, that would have been the best outcome. Maybe that was possible but the people in charge decided it wasn't. If it wasn't possible then, yes, the primary targets had to be management and rooting out the culture as much as possible the key goal. The silly rule about a $5 M limit on team fines is unsatisfactory but 3 managers and Luhnow (and Taubman) have had their careers ruined (or at least severely altered), more heads may roll in Boston, how much more blood do we need?

There are also interesting philosophical/political issues about "coming clean" raised. People are upset that nobody is owning up to this. But they did, to MLB. And Manfred wrote a report that was considered quite scathing when it was first released. But what good did that do anybody? Why would anybody, most especially players, cooperate the next time something like this happens, even with the grant of "immunity"? Why would MLB even investigate? Upon investigating and "determining" that it had stopped, what is the point of digging up and punishing past transgressions if said punishment will never satisfy the puritans?

It has some similarities to Clemens too then. "If he's really innocent, he'll sue." He did. "He better confess to Congress." He didn't. "Oh he perjured himself to Congress, he's screwed." He was acquited. Still not good enough, that dirty rotten cheater. (Meanwhile, sex with a teenager doesn't seem to have any effect on his HoF vote.)
   40. The Duke Posted: February 17, 2020 at 06:26 PM (#5924960)
The league made the right call offering immunity. Almost everything they did after that was wrong. It’s really up to the union to agree penalties going forward.

The issue has morphed from the Astros to Crane and Manfred being the real issue. Crane, with his “the buck stops one level below me” nonsense, clearly toxic culture, and comically bad PR. Manfred with his whitewash and then dismissiveness. How does he stay commish after turners comments?

Both need to go in some way, shape or form immediately
   41. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: February 17, 2020 at 06:31 PM (#5924962)
Add me to the list of people who want it to go away but aren't interested in arguing about it in every thread.
   42. Proo Posted: February 17, 2020 at 07:15 PM (#5924974)
I read somewhere (sorry don’t remember where) that the MLB by-laws make the $5million fine the largest allowed so quite literally Manfred couldn’t do more.


Sure, but rather than just one fine covering all of the violations, should it not be per incident? So, $5 million for each home game where the banging happened should cover it.
   43. rr: calming the thread down with my arms Posted: February 17, 2020 at 07:30 PM (#5924979)
Historical context: Joshua Prager's book The Echoing Green is a joint bio of Branca and Thomson, focusing on the 1951 pennant race. One very central element of the book is a detailed description of an electronic sign-stealing system installed by a Polo Grounds electrical guy--who was a huge Dodgers fan. From the NY Times in 2001:

FOR nearly half a century since Bobby Thomson hit the home run that won the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants, Ralph Branca, the Brooklyn Dodgers right-hander who threw that fastball, has known that the Giants were using a high-powered telescope and a buzzer system late that season at the Polo Grounds to alert their batters to the next pitch.

--NY Times, 2001


Fan affiliation: Since someone brought this into it, what I have seen here is some of the loudest the "move along nothing to see here" stuff coming from Boston fans. It does seem likely at this point that Boston was not as into this as Houston was, but:

Boston is still under investigation.
They beat LA in the World Series.
They are connected to Alex Cora.

And, ofc, given how high-profile Boston is and how many people dislike the Red Sox, they will likely be smacked around on-line as much as Houston has been even if they did less. Adding to this is that a few of their players have come out and said the team did nothing wrong. That may be the case, of course, but we don't know yet.

Intensity of reaction: As Walt Davis suggests, people get more wound up about this stuff when it is done by great teams and great players. Houston has won 311 games, three pennants, and a World Series since 2017, and has an overpowering and well-aligned talent core. If my team, Cincinnati, had done the same thing, many (not all but many) people would care a lot less. Adding to this is that Houston set this up, so to speak, with the Brandon Taubman incident, so that they also made themselves unlikable as well as cheaters who ALREADY had awesome talent, kind of making them an organizational version of Barry Bonds. If MLB actually has something on Boston, they will be Rafael Palmeiro.

There is IMO a parallel of sorts between the anger about the sign-stealing and the anger about the Betts deal. If a team like, again, Cincinnati, had traded Betts (and the Reds actually did give a monster extension to Votto) people would wax philosophical about payroll inequities. But Boston doing it--especially when the Yankees just broke the bank for Gerrit Cole--looks really bad.

   44. reech Posted: February 17, 2020 at 07:35 PM (#5924981)
Why would a ball player be more upset with stealing signs with a video camera rather than stealing signs the old fashioned way (via 2nd base)- isnt stealing the same thing with regard to cheating?
   45. depletion Posted: February 17, 2020 at 07:40 PM (#5924983)
From Wiki on No Contest (combat sports):
"One good example of an unusual circumstance occurred in 1983, on the undercard of the fight where Roberto Durán beat Davey Moore for the World Jr. Middleweight title at the Madison Square Garden, when Luis Resto and Billy Collins Jr boxed ten rounds. Resto appeared to win the fight cleanly, and the scorers gave the match to Resto. But, it was later discovered that he had cheated by tampering with his gloves before the fight. The injuries Collins received affected his sight, and, upon finding out what Resto and his corner had done, the New York State Athletic Commission decided to change the result of the fight to a no contest. "

An appropriate move by the NYAC, IMHO. Also an appropriate move for the 2017 World Series. The Dodgers didn't win it, but the Astros did systematic, intentional cheating, that affected the games in a tangible way.
   46. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 17, 2020 at 07:40 PM (#5924984)
Why would a ball player be more upset with stealing signs with a video camera rather than stealing signs the old fashioned way (via 2nd base)- isnt stealing the same thing with regard to cheating?

One's against the rules, the other isn't.
   47. TJ Posted: February 17, 2020 at 07:42 PM (#5924985)
Barry - what punishments would have wanted?


Strip them of the title!


And take away their children!
   48. rr: calming the thread down with my arms Posted: February 17, 2020 at 08:03 PM (#5924992)
I personally don’t think it’s one of the top 5 baseball stories of the winter


This is a long reach at best.
   49. villageidiom Posted: February 17, 2020 at 09:22 PM (#5925004)
I don't have a problem with the story lingering for a while, as long as new evidence is coming out. But I'm not really interested in the latest hot take on old news, which is most of what we're getting now.

I just want to congratulate Jose, because apparently per #13 he runs the site now. And the guy who wrote #13 tracks stuff on this site so I'm sure we can trust his word on it. Congrats, Jose!
   50. rr: calming the thread down with my arms Posted: February 17, 2020 at 09:28 PM (#5925006)
49--

You may be aware of this and decided to be snarky anyway, but Furtado has been pretty assertive about being tired of this story, while, oddly, posting links about it.
   51. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: February 17, 2020 at 09:39 PM (#5925008)
Why would a ball player be more upset with stealing signs with a video camera rather than stealing signs the old fashioned way (via 2nd base)- isnt stealing the same thing with regard to cheating?

I heard one media person make this analogy: One is like making money of the stock market by doing a good job reading the market, and the other is more like insider trading.
   52. Dock Ellis Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:00 PM (#5925013)
Why would the owners fire Manfred? He is their puppet and his job is to eat all of the sht and he is doing it.

What's the next commissioner going to do, hold any of the owners or players accountable? Aside from Crane having a bad day or two facing the press, this is going how the owners want it to go.
   53. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:12 PM (#5925015)
I disagree with the posters equating this with the PEDs scandal. Players cheating is a reality, and when they get caught, there's meaningful punishment involved. Now we have an entire organization cheating, and there's no meaningful punishment at all? That's garbage. I'm one of those people who is legitimately angry about this whole thing, in part because this corruption runs through the entire organization, and we're all supposed to just forget about it now.

We can't wind back the clock, and vacating titles is dumb, but there needs to be punitive consequences here. I want the organizational version of the 80-game suspension. I don't know what that would look like, but pain needs to be felt. If MLB won't do it, players are going to take matters into their own hands, and then we're going to see real problems.
   54. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:22 PM (#5925018)

Barry - what punishments would have wanted? I read somewhere (sorry don’t remember where) that the MLB by-laws make the $5million fine the largest allowed so quite literally Manfred couldn’t do more. Do you want everyone in the front office fired? Banned for life? What about the players? What would be appropriate?


Manfred could drive to Minute Maid Park, grab a sledgehammer from his car, walk inside, smash the Astro's trophy case, grab the WS trophy, tie it to the bumper of his car, and drag it around the parking lot for a while.

   55. Jay Z Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:24 PM (#5925020)
Why is vacating titles always dumb?

When I was in high school, the team that won the state basketball championship one year had their title vacated. Because they used an ineligible player. Someone who had been in high school five years. Against the rules for him to play. He was a backup, but he did play.

Here you would get all sorts of arguments about how unfair it was to vacate, they would have won anyway, unfair to the other players on the team. What is supposed to be done? The rules were clear, the team did not obey the rules. Whether through selfishness or incompetence, they used someone who was not eligible. Here I am told that is ridiculous.

This site gets to be a waste of my time when the "party line" is something I am completely at odds with.
   56. Dock Ellis Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:40 PM (#5925021)
dunno if vacating titles is "dumb" but like bbc said elsewhere, it's a form of censorship and we shouldn't forget the Astros cheated. Put a big goddam asterisk if we must, but vacating the World Series is a step toward pretending it never happened.
   57. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:44 PM (#5925022)
Jay Z - I can’t speak for anyone else but for me it’s dumb because it actually happened. Pretending something didn’t happen is nonsense to me. Additionally, how far back do we go? Do we strip the Giants of their ‘51 NL pennant? Also, if you vacate the titles and say the games don’t count then do I get the money from my tickets to games 3 and 4 of the ALDS back? What about my parking?

I just think saying something didn’t happen gets ridiculous. Punish the teams (players, front office, etc...) but saying something that happened didn’t happen is silly in my opinion.
   58. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 17, 2020 at 10:47 PM (#5925023)
ESPN: Sportsbooks expect Astros hitters to be targeted often this season
https://www.espn.com/chalk/story/_/id/28725963/sportsbooks-expect-astros-hitters-targeted-often-season

On Monday, sportsbook William Hill set the over/under on number of Astros batters to get plunked this season at 83.5.
   59. Dock Ellis Posted: February 17, 2020 at 11:11 PM (#5925025)
Also sorry that people "want it to go away" but this is serious and we should be paying attention if we love baseball, especially since we probably haven't seen the worst of it yet
   60. rr: calming the thread down with my arms Posted: February 17, 2020 at 11:15 PM (#5925026)
Manfred could drive to Minute Maid Park, grab a sledgehammer from his car, walk inside, smash the Astro's trophy case, grab the WS trophy, tie it to the bumper of his car, and drag it around the parking lot for a while.


This wouldn't help. It's just a piece of metal.
   61. Mayor Blomberg Posted: February 18, 2020 at 12:51 AM (#5925030)
57 - Nobody's saying it didn't happen. You can still watch tape of Armstrong winning the TdF and whichever team it was (Louavul?) that got it's title pulled by the NCAA. There'll still be film of Man City winning a title game even if it's yanked.
Yanking a title is not the same as saying that the games didn't happen. It's saying the Asterisks won but they ####### cheated.
   62. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 18, 2020 at 01:13 AM (#5925032)
The league made the right call offering immunity.


I don’t understand this at all, why offer immunity to the only people who broke the rule?

Sure it’s harder to investigate without offering immunity, but the main purpose of the investigation should be to punish any wrong-doers. If clubhouse employees lie or refuse to cooperate, you suspend them until they cooperate. Same with players. One by one those who weren’t the masterminds to try to get back into baseball. If an arbitrator rules against the MLB, at least you tried to do the right thing and everyone will know it.

And what were they granted immunity in return for? None of them confessed to the electronic devices they wore later.

The truth is immunity wasn’t given because it was necessary, it was given because it was necessary to Manfred, because he wanted to wrap mup a quick investigation and put a bow around it before the season, thinking that way it would blow over quickly.
   63. Baldrick Posted: February 18, 2020 at 01:39 AM (#5925035)
Also sorry that people "want it to go away" but this is serious and we should be paying attention if we love baseball, especially since we probably haven't seen the worst of it yet

It's really not that serious, though.
Asterisks

Speaking of not serious.
   64. Jay Z Posted: February 18, 2020 at 02:14 AM (#5925036)
57 - Nobody's saying it didn't happen. You can still watch tape of Armstrong winning the TdF and whichever team it was (Louavul?) that got it's title pulled by the NCAA. There'll still be film of Man City winning a title game even if it's yanked.
Yanking a title is not the same as saying that the games didn't happen. It's saying the Asterisks won but they ####### cheated.


In the case of the high school team the title is listed as vacated with an asterisk. With ineligible player issues, I don't see any problem with that. The rules were that the game was to be played with eligible players, the winner did not comply, so there is no winner. Yeah, they won the game that was played at the time, they might have won fairly, but didn't happen.

Certainly there are cases where a pro sports championship should be voided. If the winner paid off the umpires. One can say that this doesn't meet the criteria, but there are certainly possible criteria.
   65. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 18, 2020 at 04:36 AM (#5925037)
Asterisks

Speaking of not serious.


Best to get used to it. Nobody refers to "the 1919 White Sox."
   66. The Duke Posted: February 18, 2020 at 06:30 AM (#5925040)
Immunity was correct for the following reasons:

1. It allowed them to get to a quick answer
2. The players had never been told that what they were doing was wrong (the George Costanza problem). This is a lesson on why unions are important - they force management to behave fairly
3. The union and MLB have not collectively bargained this issue. Penalties will have to be agreed before they can be imposed
4. Players were told if they lied that penalties would be dramatic - my guess is that the union agreed to this

Let’s face it, Luhnow was the single biggest issue here. What the players did was bad but it was enabled by a corrupt GM.

Now having said that and watching the aftermath, the league made a number of really bad errors

1. In retrospect the title should have been vacated and/or monetary damages should have been more . Luhnow and Hinch should have been banned for life .
2. Crane should not have been allowed to be absolved Of blame
3. Other info (the leagues letter to Luhnow ) are hidden from public view - terrible transparency
4. The PR around this was terrible - in exchange for immunity they should have asked for a full-throated acknowledgement and apology

   67. Rusty Priske Posted: February 18, 2020 at 08:23 AM (#5925044)
The logical hoops you have to jump through to believe that the Twins did not cheat their way to the World Series are pretty ludicrous.

This time, nobody can dispute it. I wish more people would concern themselves with making the cheating impossible rather than punishing the evil-doers.
   68. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 18, 2020 at 08:58 AM (#5925046)
I wish more people would concern themselves with making the cheating impossible rather than punishing the evil-doers.


This. Rather than spending our energy on what’s happened the focus should be on making sure it doesn’t happen again.
   69. flournoy Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:02 AM (#5925048)
The logical hoops you have to jump through to believe that the Twins did not cheat their way to the World Series are pretty ludicrous.


Seriously. They literally had a guy controlling the wind inside the stadium.

For what it's worth, in the 1987 and 1991 World Series, the Twins were 8-0 at home, and 0-6 on the road. I'll just leave it at that.
   70. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:25 AM (#5925050)
I wish more people would concern themselves with making the cheating impossible rather than punishing the evil-doers.

This. Rather than spending our energy on what’s happened the focus should be on making sure it doesn’t happen again.

How do you do that? It's like saying we should focus on making burglary impossible, rather than punishing burglars. There's a huge incentive to cheat, just like there's a huge incentive to steal. You'll never prevent all of it, and you'll always be fighting the last war.

Severe punishment as a deterrent is a much more economical approach than going crazy on surveillance.
   71. ReggieThomasLives Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:30 AM (#5925052)
2. The players had never been told that what they were doing was wrong (the George Costanza problem). This is a lesson on why unions are important - they force management to behave fairly


Whaaaat?????

Every time players find new ways of obviously cheating the commissioner is powerless until he legally informs the players union it’s “wrong”? What’s next, chemical warfare?
   72. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:31 AM (#5925053)
The logical hoops you have to jump through to believe that the Twins did not cheat their way to the World Series are pretty ludicrous.

Were there rules about stadium air conditioning?
   73. Jose Is Absurdly Chatty Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:46 AM (#5925058)
How do you do that? It's like saying we should focus on making burglary impossible, rather than punishing burglars. There's a huge incentive to cheat, just like there's a huge incentive to steal. You'll never prevent all of it, and you'll always be fighting the last war.


I’m not saying don’t punish them but that has been done. Rather than spending all our time crying over the mean Astros let’s figure out how to stop this. Step one: remove all the ####### screens from the dugouts bullpens and clubhouses.
   74. Lassus Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:52 AM (#5925059)
This cycle is not going to be complete until some non-Astros player or random sportscaster starts crying in an interview about this.
   75. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 18, 2020 at 09:53 AM (#5925060)
2. The players had never been told that what they were doing was wrong (the George Costanza problem). This is a lesson on why unions are important - they force management to behave fairly

Manfred (or maybe it was Torre) issued a memo to all teams after the first Red Sox investigation. The gist of it was that management would be punished the next time someone was caught, and that it was up to management to let the players know. So whether he meant to or not, Manfred boxed himself into a corner with that memo. He was now on the record saying that management would get sanctioned but there was no "warning" about player suspensions. I suspect he did not want to go down that road until it got hashed out at the next CBA.
   76. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 10:17 AM (#5925067)
I’m not saying don’t punish them but that has been done. Rather than spending all our time crying over the mean Astros let’s figure out how to stop this. Step one: remove all the ####### screens from the dugouts bullpens and clubhouses.

That definitely needs to be done.

The one exception to the punishment is if the players lied to the MLB investigators. If Altuve and Bregman claimed there were no buzzers, and MLB can prove there were, they should be suspended and fined.
   77. . Posted: February 18, 2020 at 10:45 AM (#5925073)
he one exception to the punishment is if the players lied to the MLB investigators.


Finding a player lie can be Manfred's in to finally do the right thing and vacate the title.
   78. PreservedFish Posted: February 18, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5925075)
57 - Nobody's saying it didn't happen. You can still watch tape of Armstrong winning the TdF and whichever team it was (Louavul?) that got it's title pulled by the NCAA. There'll still be film of Man City winning a title game even if it's yanked.


I watch a lot of cycling and I disagree. Lance Armstrong is officially treated as if he did not exist. You will watch a TdF broadcast and see a statistic, such as "most career days in the yellow jersey," and that statistic will not include Lance Armstrong, nor several other disgraced riders. The statistic is untrue and ahistorical. Yeah, you can watch Lance on Youtube, but through official channels an entire era of the sport has been gouged into an unrecognizable form. The impression I get is of Stalin erasing 'traitors' from old photographs.
   79. . Posted: February 18, 2020 at 10:58 AM (#5925076)
Here you would get all sorts of arguments about how unfair it was to vacate, they would have won anyway, unfair to the other players on the team. What is supposed to be done? The rules were clear, the team did not obey the rules. Whether through selfishness or incompetence, they used someone who was not eligible. Here I am told that is ridiculous.

This site gets to be a waste of my time when the "party line" is something I am completely at odds with.


It's a baseball cultural thing -- the elegance of the data and the numbers are treasured, and rightly so, but they get out of whack if a title is vacated and, because of their data-centric perspective, baseball fans have a tough time dealing with the existential dichotomy of the games "happening," but being deemed not to have happened.

I have a great deal of fake lawyer experience dealing with complicated remedies where you have to try to cobble together some kind of fair but imperfect status quo ante, so I'm used to it. Nothing is perfect, nor should the perfect be the enemy of the good. (Reparations for slavery would be a good analogy, but it's offered merely as an analogy, not as anything substantive.) Vacating the title could certainly be said to leave a hole in historical bookkeeping, but it's clearly a proper remedy and one with precedent in other sports. Through no fault of its own, MLB did not run a fair 2017 playoff season. The result of that can't be allowed to stand.
   80. . Posted: February 18, 2020 at 11:02 AM (#5925077)
If Altuve and Bregman claimed there were no buzzers, and MLB can prove there were, they should be suspended and fined.


If they used them and they worked and they used them for more than something like 10 games, they should be put on the permanently ineligible list. Ten might be too low; it's just a hunch gut feel. Twenty-five maybe, post-season counts double.
   81. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 18, 2020 at 11:08 AM (#5925078)
He was now on the record saying that management would get sanctioned but there was no "warning" about player suspensions. I suspect he did not want to go down that road until it got hashed out at the next CBA.
The position that for the commissioner to be able to punish any player for cheating, MLB would have first had to anticipate the exact way(s) in which that cheating would occur, and then have negotiated into the CBA in advance a specific, express punishment for exactly that type of cheating, is beyond absurd.

It may well end up being the union's position, but it's beyond absurd.
   82. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 11:12 AM (#5925079)

If they used them and they worked and they used them for more than something like 10 games, they should be put on the permanently ineligible list. Ten might be too low; it's just a hunch gut feel. Twenty-five maybe, post-season counts double.


That's silly. You can't punish them more than the manager or GM. But 30-60 games without pay is a meaningful punishment.
   83. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 18, 2020 at 11:14 AM (#5925080)
Re #57

1987 ALCS: Twins won G1 and G2 at home then went 2-1 in Detroit.
1991 ALCS: Twins split G1 and G2 at home then won three straight in Toronto.

I didn’t read TFA, so I don’t know if the dude did the same shenanigans during the ALCSes, but
A) The Twins won in the road in both ALCSes, so they weren’t patsies, and in G3 at DET they had the lead in the eighth before a Reardon blown save
B) They lost G2 at home in 1991 but won games 4 and 5 by a combined 9 runs in TOR

So either
1) AC guy didn’t pitch in during the ALCS
2) The Twins got hot at the right time in both years
3) AC did pitch in but the AC thing isn’t actually that big a deal
4) Small samples of game
5) BASEBALL!!!
   84. . Posted: February 18, 2020 at 11:23 AM (#5925083)
That's silly. You can't punish them more than the manager or GM.


Of course you can and it isn't silly in the least. They did the crime. I wouldn't be dead set against Hinch and Luhnow on the list, too, but I'd need a bit more evidence against Luhnow.
   85. Lassus Posted: February 18, 2020 at 11:28 AM (#5925087)
This site gets to be a waste of my time when the "party line" is something I am completely at odds with.

I'm only quoting a quote, so I have no idea who posted this, but on the meta side: 1. Reading through the gross of threads and comments, there does not seem to be a party line, and 2. "A place where people disagree with me is a waste of my time" is kind of a bad look.
   86. Mayor Blomberg Posted: February 18, 2020 at 11:36 AM (#5925090)
The TdF statistic is entirely correct. The jersey has been revoked for those days, though sure, they could say that at one point Armstrong was credited but he was a cheating, lying sack of ####. He totally deserves it.

MLB pretends that home runs never happened if they were hit in the early innings of a rain out. No one has problems with that. You're trying to make cute phrasing and references to Stalin do the work of actual argument. That's bullshit.
   87. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5925094)
I watch a lot of cycling and I disagree. Lance Armstrong is officially treated as if he did not exist. You will watch a TdF broadcast and see a statistic, such as "most career days in the yellow jersey," and that statistic will not include Lance Armstrong, nor several other disgraced riders. The statistic is untrue and ahistorical. Yeah, you can watch Lance on Youtube, but through official channels an entire era of the sport has been gouged into an unrecognizable form. The impression I get is of Stalin erasing 'traitors' from old photographs.


If that's the way you feel, why the hell do you even pay attention to cycling in the first place? That's been the way that the sport handles cheating since its very beginning - for example, the top four finishers in the 1904 Tour de France were all disqualified, and they gave the title to the fifth-place finisher, Henri Cornet.
   88. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: February 18, 2020 at 12:23 PM (#5925098)
So I guess my forfeiture plan is just not possible? Or regarded as dumb? Just asking because I thought it hit all the pressure points of what people considered legit punishment while still being something the commissioner could do if he did want to take more action.
   89. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 12:51 PM (#5925104)
I've certainly heard worse ideas, but there's no way Manfred has the will to implement something like that.
   90. Snowboy Posted: February 18, 2020 at 01:38 PM (#5925137)
Manfred is emerging as Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, and Bert Lahr...all wrapped up in the same suit. (An empty suit, at that.)
   91. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 02:40 PM (#5925151)

I just think saying something didn’t happen gets ridiculous. Punish the teams (players, front office, etc...) but saying something that happened didn’t happen is silly in my opinion.


MLB wouldn't be saying the Astros didn't win the 2017 title. It would be saying that they won the title, then lost the title. Two things happened, not zero.
   92. Sunday silence Posted: February 18, 2020 at 03:14 PM (#5925157)
Put me down with Jose as well.


Walt, I thought last week you said you were in favor of vacating the title. What made you do a 180 on this? Assuming Im reading that quote accurately.
   93. Sunday silence Posted: February 18, 2020 at 03:14 PM (#5925159)
double post
   94. Rusty Priske Posted: February 18, 2020 at 03:23 PM (#5925162)
It's like saying we should focus on making burglary impossible, rather than punishing burglars.


I am not saying don't punish them. I am saying that it shouldn't be the most important priority. The highest priority should be making sure it can't continue, anywhere.

And your example is apt. Security IS more important than punishing burglars, since we already know that punishment won't deter all burglars.
   95. jingoist Posted: February 18, 2020 at 03:33 PM (#5925166)
Manfred is making me long for the days of Bowie Kuhn.
An emptier suit as commissioner of a professional sport league you will not find.
   96. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 18, 2020 at 05:26 PM (#5925197)

I am not saying don't punish them. I am saying that it shouldn't be the most important priority. The highest priority should be making sure it can't continue, anywhere.

Not exactly the same thing, but I have often seen it said that a higher likelihood of being caught (assuming some reasonable level of punishment), is a more effective deterrent to crime than having draconian punishments for those who do get caught.
   97. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: February 18, 2020 at 05:35 PM (#5925199)
Not exactly the same thing, but I have often seen it said that a higher likelihood of being caught (assuming some reasonable level of punishment), is a more effective deterrent to crime than having draconian punishments for those who do get caught.

There is an interesting question here, though. Are the Astros better off for having done it and later gotten caught than if they had never done it in the first place?
   98. Mike A Posted: February 18, 2020 at 06:17 PM (#5925208)
That's been the way that the sport handles cheating since its very beginning
I feel Lance was at least somewhat singled out. He was made the face of steroids in cycling, kind of like Bonds in baseball, in order to distract from the fact that pretty much everyone was doping at the time.

A majority of the Tour De France winners (65%-75%) from 1961-2011 were caught doping or were under serious suspicion of doping. The list includes many who are still held in high regard today: Eddy Merckx, Laurent Fignon, Bernard Hinault, etc, etc. But only Lance had his titles retroactively taken away, which seems odd to me. (Floyd Landis and Alberto Contador were stripped of TdF titles for testing positive during the race.) I just don't know what line you have to cross to lose your titles, and in general I'm not a fan of vacating wins.
   99. JJ1986 Posted: February 18, 2020 at 06:44 PM (#5925212)
I don't know if this is a terrible idea, but how about punishing the players by banning them from future All Star games? They may not care about the game itself, but making it is still a pretty real honor. It would be a big shaming without actually affecting the league in 2020 or going forward and is small enough financially the it might be workable with the union.
   100. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: February 18, 2020 at 07:09 PM (#5925217)
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