As full squads report to Arizona and Florida I am left here in a cloudy Mental State. I am disgusted by the Astros, weary of the Dodgers, reasonably certain Arte Moreno may never get it right and tired of the Pete Rose equation.
Let’s start there.
—Rose gambled on baseball as manager of a baseball team. He broke the most sacred baseball rule and did it while in a position of leadership. Any comparison to the Astros cheating and the fact that none of those players have been sanctioned doesn’t register with me. Rose was told at the time of his initial suspension by Bart Giamatti that if he demonstrated the ability to reconfigure his life that his suspension might be reconsidered. Rose has never made that attempt. He has gone on to lead his life and earn his livelihood in a casino environment. It was years before he gave up the fight against his suspension, years before he expressed any measure of apology and regret. Yes, it is a shame the Hit King isn’t in the Hall of Fame but the emperor has never really changed his clothes.
–is there any analytic that would determine who has been–and continues to be–hit hardest by fans, media and many opposing players: the Astros or the commissioner? The way I see it is that Rob Manfred had no choice but to give the Houston players immunity if he was going to get to a measure of the cheating truth. In addition, any player suspension would have been and still would be fought with likely success by the union. Manfred leveled the suspensions on the right people, the leaders who did not stop it and, in the case of general manager Jeff Luhnow, established a permissive atmosphere under a system known as Codebreaker. The owner, Jim Crane, took the right step in firing Luhnow and the manager, A.J. Hinch, but Crane’s own pathetic attempts to apologize and recognize the extent and impact of the cheating should be reevaluated by Manfred. The Astros cheated game upon game and year upon year and no cliché expression of remorse and regret will change the fact that neither Hinch nor any player stood up and said this is wrong and needs to stop. It is obvious that that the abuse–from the stands and opposing dugouts–is going to follow the Astros, and I find myself saying rightfully so.
–What do the Dodgers want regarding the 2017 World Series? An asterisk next to the Astros name? A vacated space? A crown by default? None of that is going to happen nor should. It is what it painfully is, and without going into an in depth evaluation, it was a World Series the Dodgers could have and probably should have won regardless of the degree to which the Astros cheated. I understand the emotions being expressed but at some point they are going to have to move on, there is a season to be played. There is also this: the commissioner expects to wrap up his investigations into possible 2018 cheating by the Red Sox, who defeated the Dodgers in the World Series of that year. Will the Dodgers have something new to complain about? Is it possible that the welcome mat for those two former Red Sox, Mookie Betts and David Price, could suddenly become a little frayed? How uncomfortable would that be?
–Bill Stoneman retired as the Angels most successful general manager after the 2007 season. The Angels have had three general managers since, not counting Stoneman in his brief return on an interim basis after Jerry DiPoto resigned. Billy Eppler is the current general manager, but it doesn’t seem to really matter. Arte Moreno runs this show and we were reminded again last week of what has been a painful truth at times. Arte acknowledged that his impatience played a part in the decision by the Angels to pull out of a trade with the Dodgers that would have netted Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling, a hitter and pitcher who would have helped the Angels. The wreckage is everywhere. Don’t sign Adrian Beltre but waste $86 million trading for Vernon Wells. Oh, boy. Gary Matthews Jr.? Jeff Hamilton? Albert Pujols? Just too many bad decisions to chronicle, and it’s all Arte. I mean, doesn’t somebody need to say it? So Arte has now stepped over Eppler’s body as Pederson and Stripling remain with the Dodgers. Eppler has one year remaining on his contract. The new manager, Joe Maddon, has a three year contract. There is more power in the dugout than the executive office, but hold the phone. Arte is calling.