**** Since this blog was written the Astros have fired both AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow****
In the history of sports, you can probably name one or two teams that went from likable to hated more quickly than the Houston Astros. Today, MLB released their findings into the Astros cheating scandal and manager AJ Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow have been suspended for the entirety of the 2020 season, without pay, effective immediately. Luhnow and Hinch can be no where near any major league, spring training or minor league facility or perform any serviced related to Major League Baseball, they are also prohibited from travel with the ballclub. The suspension will end at the conclusion of the 2020 World Series. In addition, the Astros will forfeit their first and second round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB Draft and the organization will be fined $5 million.
Well, what to say here other than I hate the entire Houston Astros organization and I commend Big Daddy Rob Manfred for suplexing this organization from the top rope. I wish he had done more though. I wish he made AJ Hinch and Alex Cora scale the side of the stadium with Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman hanging on to their backs with no safety harnesses and physically remove their World Series banner, climb back down, burn it, climb back up and hang a Dodgers Championship banner that will remain in their stadium forever.
You might ask whether I am bitter about the 2017 and 2018 World Series and losing both years to some of the biggest cheating acts the game of baseball has ever seen? Yeah, you know what, I am. I wrote an entire blog on this and outlined two perfectly good scenarios that would make myself and all other Dodger fans satisfied if MLB decided not to name us World Series Champions, which we obviously deserve at this point. Here were my suggestions:
The Dodgers will play the cheaters in a best of 7 series, but the cheating team must play the entire series opposite handed. Lefties throwing righty, righties batting lefty, absolute chaos. The Dodgers obviously play with their primary hand and dominate this best of 7 series in a sweep.
The Dodgers will play the cheaters in a best of 7 series but the cheating team must play every inning with their bat boy, their stadium organ player, a concession stand worker, a parking lot attendant, their blind folded General Manager, a fan under the age of 13, their oldest living fan, and the wife of the third base coach (if the third base coach is not married then we go to their closest living female relative) the one remaining spot on the field can be a player from their roster and he can play it straight up. Dodgers again win this one in a sweep.
Honestly, I never thought I would dislike a team more than I dislike the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees but here we are. I was in Atlanta for the College Football Playoff game, minding my own business and what do you know, I get wrapped up in a baseball conversation with an Astros fan. He begins to tell me how the Astros didn’t do anything wrong. DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG? They cheated, this wasn’t gamesmanship, they gave themselves an unfair advantage to win the World Series. This shouldn’t bother only Dodger fans, this should bother the entire AL West, the 2017 Red Sox (coached by John Farrell not the cheating Alex Cora who was the Astros Bench Coach in 2017) and the 2017 Yankees. For once, the Dodgers and Yankees can be united on this issue, both the Dodgers and Yankees lost to the cheating Astros in 17’ and the cheating Red Sox in 2018. How great would it have been to have had back to back World Series matchups of the Dodgers and Yankees, well, all of us as MLB fans have been robbed of that.
Scors did a little research for all of you, I dug deep on this, I stepped aside from my usual hot-air, bloviated, opinion and reached into the bag of facts. Some number crunching on the 2017 Astros post-season run and my oh my, how interesting it is. The report suggests that the Astros had the clear advantage at their home park because of their sophisticated cheating setup that was known by the entire organization practically. Here are the numbers:
2017 ALDS vs Boston Red Sox
@ Home 2-0 record with an average runs scored/game of 8
@ Fenway Park 1-1 record with an average runs scored/game of 4
2018 ALCS vs New York Yankees
@ Home 4-0 record with an average runs scored/game of 4
@ Yankee Stadium 0-3 record with an average runs scored/game of 1.5
2019 World Series vs Los Angeles Dodgers
@ Home 2-1 record with an average runs scored/game of 7
@ Dodger Stadium 2-2 record with an average runs scored/game of 3.5
WOW. Eye opening numbers right here boys and girls. The Astros didn’t have a winning record on the road in any of their post-season matchups and at home throughout the post-season they averaged 6.3 runs per game and on the road, they average 3, an alarming differential of 3.3 runs a per game.
I might have to protest until they award the Dodgers the 2017 World Series Championship. I am open for ideas, hunger strike, chain myself to my mailbox, stand outside of MLB headquarters everyday with a bull horn demanding that we become champions or to get my opposite hand series in the works. Something needs to be done and I am determined to get this fixed. Just call me the Erin Brokovich of the baseball blogging world, I will continue to chant from the rooftops until the Astros remove that banner. The lunacy of sports at its finest, an NCAA team can be forced to remove their banners cause people gave some student athletes some food money, or helped out the players family or god forbid a bunch of 18-21 year old kids got strippers to their dorm, remove their accomplishments and trophies IMMEDIATELY! Professional sports, go ahead and cheat, take the pride and glory away from teams and organizations that did it the right way and remove some picks and issue some fines and throw down suspensions. Like I said Manfred did the right thing, he is just missing one aspect of this hammer toss, removing the Astros as the 2017 World Champions, they are the paper champions in my eyes. This could be the ramblings of a pissed off, angry, toyed with, depressed Dodgers fan and it very well could be or it could be someone screaming for the right think to be done. Commissioner Manfred, I am sure you are a dedicated reader of ProcrastiNation Sports, do the right thing, strip them of their title and either leave the AL and World title vacated, only having an NL Champion for 2017 or name the Dodgers baseball’s champion. The people’s champion, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Some people see things as they are and ask why. I dream things that never were and ask why not”-Robert F. Kennedy/Scors