Something rather ridiculous is going on right now in Major League Baseball, as suddenly many players and experts associated with the sport are popping off about the Houston Astros/Boston Red Sox sign-stealing scandal.
First off, the players and the fans should be pissed. While sign stealing itself, in the form of visual conduct and discernment of body language on the field of the play, is not anything new in the sport, using advanced and complex technology off the field is taking the gamesmanship to a whole new level of deceit and fraud.
But where was all this outrage in the PED era of baseball (which may still be ongoing for all we know)? Like sign stealing in the past, taking adrenaline-boosting pills was nothing new to baseball, but altering one’s body chemistry in a laboratory in order to achieve more-acute abilities on the field took “gamesmanship” to a disgusting level of chicanery.
When players talk about beaning Astros hitters (and why not Red Sox hitters, too, by the way?), it begs the question: Why didn’t cheaters like Barry Bonds get beaned all the time? Bonds set records for intentional walks during the height of his steroid binge, when pitchers should have been plunking his ass instead. He was literally stealing money out of their pockets every time he hit a dinger.
Where was this outrage during the PED era?
It was there in small doses (pun intended) at the time, but there was no talk of stripping the Red Sox, for example, of their 2004 and 2007 (at least) World Series titles for having known PED users—looking at you, David Ortiz and Manny Ramírez—contributing major moments to the team’s success. Or when Melky Cabrera was suspended for PED use in 2012, the San Francisco Giants were not immediately banned from the postseason.
The Giants were never penalized in any way for letting Bonds disgrace the sport with his chemically enhanced home runs; they even profited from it when “fans” in the City by the Bay came out in record numbers to watch Bonds hit balls in to McCovey Cove. When you consider the excessive collection of surprising statistical performances by Giants players after Bonds retired, you have to wonder if the team ever stopped cheating.
Baseball has often had ethical and moral problems, dating back to the early twentieth century (at least). This is nothing new. But for anyone to suddenly feel like the line has finally been crossed is absolutely ridiculous. It was crossed a long time ago, and this faux MLB outrage is pretty laughable and nauseating at the same time.