The Baltimore Orioles traded Trey Mancini to Houston at the trade deadline. We all know the story, capped off by Mancini hitting a dramatic inside-the-park home run in his final plate appearance in the orange & black at Camden Yards. Trey will always be beloved on the Baltimore sports landscape. And I think that all Orioles fans are thrilled that he’s now a World Series champion.
I would also throw in that I would hope most Orioles fans are happy for Houston manager Dusty Baker. His style and his resume always reminded me of former Orioles manager Buck Showalter. And similarly, he’s one of the game’s good guys and is equally as deserving of being a World Series champion as Trey Mancini. I would also submit that by virtue of winning it all, he’s now a first ballot Hall of Fame manager.
However both Mancini and Baker are now part of a bigger discussion regarding the Houston Astros. Normally I try to stay above the fray in terms of my views on a lot of things. (You might be able to decipher my views if you read hard between the lines, but I digress.) Not in this instance.
The Houston Astros are cheaters. In my mind so long as a core group from their 2017 title run remains in place, there will always be a black mark next to that franchise. Some people will say that’s unfair, but I’m sorry – I don’t think it is.
There’s a certain honor amongst baseball players and within baseball circles. It’s a gentleman’s game. That means that yes, you do everything possible to win. The greatest honor you can show to the game is to win and be successful at playing it.
However the unspoken part of that is that you do everything possible to win…within the rules. It wasn’t just a player or two. It was the entire organization. From the top down. They wanted the glory, and they were willing to cheat the game and it’s fans to get it. That’s not okay.
I’ll grant you that lots of teams probably cheat. Houston just got caught. And yes I’m getting caught, they bear the brunt of the scorn for cheating in general. They’re the unfaithful spouse just wanted a moment of pleasure and stepped out of their marriage for a moment. They’re the sales guy who fudges his numbers to take his bonus home. In short, they reap the rewards but they don’t earn them.
I’m not calling the legitimacy of this year’s World Series title into question. But I’m just saying that this franchise will always raise ab eyebrow as a result of what happened in 2017. They’re the team nobody wanted to see win, because now both they and their fans feel the rest of the world should eat some crow for coming after them so viciously.
Well I have news for them; they SHOULD HAVE been gone after with that fervor. THEY CHEATED. They violated the honor that’s so precious in baseball. So no, they weren’t treated unfairly. It’s fine to celebrate this year’s title – I’m all for that, and they and their fans should do that. But don’t get into the you came after us and we STILL won – egg’s on YOUR face territory. Because the legitimacy of your franchise and the honor therein is still very much in question.
In the middle of this fracas remains Trey Mancini. Again, he’ll always be special to Baltimore fans. There’s nothing that I wrote above which applies to him. Same goes for Dusty Baker. In fact, the one thing they got right was bringing such a respected manager in on the heels of the cheating scandal.
Most fans probably were thrilled seeing Mancini get to win a World Series. He’ll always be an Oriole, and needless to say the Orioles had some representation in the winner’s circle last night. Trey Mancini perhaps helped to purify the Houston Astros – in the eyes of Orioles fans. And there’s no more deserving champion than he.