MLB commissioner Rob Manfred met the press this afternoon and said that, “In a perfect world…” there would be a harsher punishment for the Houston Asterisks. Wow, I wonder who could have made a more perfect world in baseball possible.
If you want to argue that it would be problematic and complicated to discipline individual Astros players, I understand. But it would not at all have been difficult to strip the Asterisks of their World Series title. Particularly since most discerning fans and players who live outside of Houston understand that it is an invalid championship. Not tainted. Invalid.
If you get a chance, find the interview former NL MVP Kris Bryant gave today about the Astros. This isn’t a two-bit player. This is a former National League MVP and a World Series champion. Most times professional decorum precludes players from talking trash about the character of their peers. Not here. Bryant calls them insincere, rejects their apologies and points out that “if they hadn’t been caught, they’d still be doing it.”
This is a leader in MLB saying this. Rob Manfred still does not appreciate the harm he is about to unleash by not properly punishing the Astros. And this is a lesson you might’ve thought the Roger Goodall-Ray Rice fiasco might have taught him: a swift and harsh punishment shuts everyone up and only then can you move on. When justice is not served, anger and hostility lingers. And distrust in the institution stirs up.
Swing and a big miss by Manfred this afternoon.
Also, if you get a chance, read this excellent piece by ESPN’s Jeff Passan on how “baseball is burning.”