*The judges will also accept, “Jackasstros”

If I ran the Houston Astros, I would have stepped to the microphone this afternoon and uttered a concise, four-word message:

“Not in the face”

Not in the face, please. When you bean us, and you’re going to bean us, and we can’t even be upset that you’re going to bean us, please, not in the face. Maybe not in the ribs, either. The hind quarters or ham hocks are fine. But not in the face (or the knees… and if you could stay away from the hand/wrist area, as there are a plethora of tiny bones there and not much meat). Okay, thanks.

From the little I saw, the Astros came out today and did what all stupid organizations in sport and elsewhere do: they asked for forgiveness without first saying they were sorry. The closest they came, from what I read, was this from Alex Bregman: “I am really sorry about the choices that were made by my team, by the organization and by me.”

You have to love how far Bregman put “I am sorry” from “by me” in that sentence, don’t you?

Astros owner Jim Crane apologized only for “breaking the rules” while countering that he did not believe Houston’s incessant cheating (my word, not his) had an impact on either World Series (or playoff series, plural) for that matter. Someone should have asked him if there were any “quid pro quo” or if it was a “perfect” call.

Let’s please understand: Rob Manfred, MLB commish, has also royally screwed up. What he should do before Opening Day is strip the Astros of their World Series title and ALCS titles. Done. You don’t have to award them to the Dodgers and Yankees, respectively; simply strip them of their 2017 title.

Done. Unless or until Manfred does so, there will be a ton of righteous anger inside baseball clubhouses and in the stands. And it’s going to get very, very ugly for the Astros this season. If Manfred at least made the punishment fit the crime, the fans and players would not be quite as zealous about their pound of flesh or 4 square inches of bruising. This is actually irresponsible of Manfred. By meting out only cash and draft pick penalties, which have no visceral salving effect for either opposing players or fans, he keeps this fresh. He allows for opposing pitchers and fans to feel as if they still deserve more retribution.

For a very good reason: they do.

Opposing pitchers should simply announce to Astros batters what they are about to throw this season before every pitch: “Four-seam fastball, in your earhole.”

Bregman also said, “I have learned from this and I hope to regain the trust of baseball fans.”

Sorry, Alex. Sorry, Jose. Sorry, George. Sorry to all of you. You can’t go back to being a virgin. It’s done. This is your legacy. For this baseball fan, at least, you and your teammates will always be known first as cheaters. That is in the first graf, if not the first line, of your obit. This was not a one-game or even one series thing. This was prolonged and premeditated cheating on the grandest scale.

You’re not sorry you did it. You’re sorry you got caught. Joe Jackson’s name has been sullied permanently for more than a century for the Black Sox Scandal, something he may not have even perpetrated. What Houston did was far worse. You’ll always be the Trashtros to me, Houston.

5 thoughts on “Trashtros*

  1. Why do you advocate other teams throwing at the Astros?

    Also, I’m pretty sure the Astros understand as well as anyone that they are forever stained by this. So what are they supposed to do at this point beyond apologizing?

    • Payback. Easy.

      If they were actually sorry, they’d acknowledge their title is a fraud and reject it. They are only sorry they got caught.

      And let me be clear: I completely advocate pitchers throwing at them. They stole a few seasons of baseball from fans. Completely damaged the integrity of the game.

      • Well, to each his own. I personally think that baseball’s tradition of addressing slights by throwing 95-mph pitches at opposing hitters is one of the worst parts of the game, and I say that as a lifelong baseball fan. That’s true whether or not a hitter “has it coming.” If the upcoming season turns into a steady stream of pitchers firing at Astros (and maybe Red Sox), baseball will be worse for it. That’s true whether or not they “deserve” it, and whether or not MLB brought it on by they way they chose to handle this investigation. If, say, Carlos Correa takes a pitch off the head and suffers a concussion or or other serious injury, are we ok with that, just because it satisfies some idea of frontier justice? And what about when the Astros’ pitcher inevitably follows up with some headhunting of his own, because that is baseball’s code?

        • I don’t know if you heard, Wally, but serious head injuries are only “headaches.”

          Seriously, though, Rob Manfred should bear the blame in part for what I imagine will be a beanball barrage this spring, not to mention how opposing fans jeer the Astros. It will get ugly.

          Baseball needs a Kenesaw Mountain Landis to impose frontier justice. Instead, it got a classic 21st-century let’s-have-a-focus-group-decide-what-MY-move-will-be CEO, a wuss. A pantywaist. Manfred and baseball just believe that if they can spin this that things will be okay. But the Astros robbed baseball in 2 of the past 3 years. Everything we saw was the product of cheating. I don’t know how you don’t strip the team of their title and I don’t know how you don’t suspend their starters for at least one year. That’s what I would do.

          The Astros AND Manfred are just trying to P.R. their way out of this and hope everyone (and Twitter) moves on as soon as the next big thing happens. And maybe they’re right. I hope not. These guys are behaving as if they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. They had one hand in the cookie jar while they were sleeping with your wife. It’s more like that.

  2. Also important to note that there were 23 (23!) current and former Astro players talked to for this investigation. And all of them were offered immunity to come clean.

    The fact that no players were suspended in this is bizarre. It isn’t as if these are 6-year-old boys that must be complicit with their parents’ orders. These are grown ass men.

    Manfred even states in his report: “Witnesses consistently describe this new scheme as player-driven …”

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