The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Houston Astros exactly once in 2017 – the year in which Houston, led by manager A.J. Hinch, won the World Series. As we know now, Houston cheated their way to that title, and kept right on cheating after winning it. Yesterday those chickens came home to roost.Major League Baseball announced that the Astros were having the following penalties levied against them:
- One-year suspension for manager A.J. Hinch
- One-year suspension for GM Jeff Luhnow
- Loss of first and second round draft picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts
- $5 million organizational fine
- The placement of former Astros assistant GM Brandon Taubman on baseball’s ineligible list
Let me be very clear; these penalties are appropriate. When you cheat the game you do so at your own risk. You can run, but you can’t hide. And when it comes, justice is swift and sure.
And in this case justice is being handed down at a particularly sensitive time. Pitchers and catchers report in less than a month. So in essence an interim front office staff’s going to have to figure out whether it makes sense to elevate a base coach as an interim manager, or whether they should hire someone from outside instead.
Furthermore if you’re a Houston Astros’ fan, you have to think that perhaps the season’s going to be punted. Not to mention the future, with the team missing two years’ worth of first and second round picks. All of this sends a powerful message to all players when it comes to cheating. Just don’t do it.
Incidentally, within an hour of these penalties being handed down, Houston decided to fire both Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch. For what it’s worth, my understanding is that Hinch still cannot be a part of any organization this year. So even if someone wanted to hire him in some capacity this year, that would be out of the question. All the more reason not to cheat.