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BUZZERGATE – MLB MUST ACT NOW!

This is not what Major League Baseball wanted…at all.

Just when it looked like they had completed a thorough investigation, albeit, with the legitimate (and somewhat infuriating) decision that no consequences were handed out to any players, a new potential scandal blows up.

BLOWS UP.

There are reports, seemingly credible, that a number of Astros used electronic buzzers worn under their uniform tops as a way to be told of upcoming pitches. If this is true, and I will repeat, if this is true, baseball must act decisively, and firmly, and swiftly. And the players involved, all of them, must face harsh consequences, harsh harsh consequences, including, if necessary, permanent removal from the game itself.

I have a host of thoughts on this:

The players were granted immunity in the first electronic cheating investigation – the one surrounding the 2017 Astros. The buzzer accusations involve the 2019 Astros. As I have previously written, MLB must investigate the 2019 Astros as well, but not just a specific year or team, the Astros are just the focus right now.. There were concerns about them cheating during the post season by the Yankees. This is not a new accusation. This new investigation by MLB must be announced…now. Immediately. This investigation must be extremely thorough. It must include every player who played for the Astros in 2017, 2018, and 2019. This would include every player who has left the team as well – the players interviewed should not just be current Astros. This investigation should also include all coaches, personnel, and etc… who worked first-hand with the team at home. The investigation must be thorough. Absolutely thorough. The report that comes out must also be thorough, transparent, and unquestionably honest. MLB must get the Players’ Union on board from the start. The integrity of the game is at stake. If it is found out that other teams did this as well, the investigation should be expanded. If it involves other seasons, then the investigation must look there as well. All guilty parties need to be found and face consequences. If that includes the Yankees, so be it. (i don’t believe it will. I believe the Yankees are innocent. I hope they are.)

The fate of the game, the absolute trust and integrity of the game, is at stake. If there are players who are blatantly cheating in this manner, it must be addressed and this must be rectified. This cannot happen. All of the people involved, from the camera operator to the people giving the signals, designing the buzzers for this purpose, attaching the buzzers, and such, including the players, coaches, team personnel, and etc…must be severely disciplined. If this guts the Astros, it guts the Astros. If it makes them a last place team in 2020, it makes them a last place team in 2020. Houston and the Astros benefited from untold millions of dollars by having these championship teams, possibly illegitimate championship teams. They robbed the other cities and fan bases of that revenue and joy. They also robbed other players of their moments of glory. And managers, like Joe Girardi, of their jobs. There needs to be very clear, very loud, and very direct message – if you cheat at a level like this, you’re out. The players knew that what they were doing was against the rules. They must face harsh consequences.

The Player’s Association must acknowledge that it represents all the players. More players were cheated by this scandal than who got benefits from it. For baseball, as an organization and legitimate professional sport to have credibility, it must denounce cheating like this – clearly, absolutely, and unequivocally.

If this is true, it is baseball’s biggest scandal since the 1919 Black Sox. Baseball, as an institution, must step up big. If it’s eight men out, it’s eight men out. If it’s eighty, it’s eighty.

I’m not a lawyer. I don’t pretend to be one. But, if this is true, why didn’t this come out in the initial investigation? Did MLB only ask about 2017? Shouldn’t there have been follow-up questions such as, “Were any methods used to cheat in 2018 or 2019?” It’s not like there wasn’t legitimate suspicion. The Yankees were complaining about this during the post season – well before the investigation. There have been rumors out there for years. To me, and I’m not a lawyer, it seems that MLB did a poor job in the investigation if they didn’t ask those simple questions. It makes me ask, and wonder, did the MLB truly want to get to the absolute bottom of this? Having this come out now, after a whole investigation was concluded, looks bad. Baseball can’t afford to look bad. They need to do something, immediately, to restore everyone’s faith in the game.

If there were players who were involved in this (possible) method of cheating, and if they didn’t come clean when interviewed by MLB about 2017, that really makes them look even worse. At some point, a person’s character has to prevail. Honesty is the best policy. It’s the only policy. The players involved, whoever they are, are not heroes.

I’d love to see true remorse from one, or some, or all of these players. Call a press conference today, admit what you did, and help clean up the game. Difficult times call for difficult decisions. They call for people of integrity to stand up. The longer the players don’t stand up, the worse this looks for them – and the game.

Thrown into all of the accusations was a statement that there is a possibility that Gleyber Torres might have also worn a buzzer on his body in order to know the pitches that were coming. If that’s the case, let me be 100% consistent and clear, If true, he should also face the strictest of punishments. I would expand this, like with the above related to the Astros, to include any personnel, player, coach, and etc… who helped any player use a buzzer method to cheat. I don’t care if the player is an Astro, a Yankee, a Red Sox, or from any team. You cheat like this…you’re out.

The Yankees management should bring Gerrit Cole to New York immediately to find out what he knew about all of this. He knows those players. He was in that locker room. What he might be able to share could be extremely valuable.

As a fan, I’d rather my team go 0-162 playing honestly than 162-0 by cheating. Cheaters, like this, destroy the integrity of the game. Baseball’s legitimacy, once ruined, cannot be brought back easily – if at all. The fun of the sport is in the competition itself and seeing how the best perform against the best. Hearing all of this, saddens me and makes me fear for the game itself. If this isn’t handled correctly, the game will suffer. It might never recover.

The players and personnel involved, if true, should also have to return any and all “prize” money – whether it be in World Series or post season shares, bonuses for awards, stipends for merchandise sales, and etc…related to these tainted titles and awards. The awards, I feel, must also be vacated or awarded to the runners up.

The titles these teams have won should also be vacated. I didn’t want titles vacated at the start of all this, but as this scandal grows, it seems now essential (if this is all true). Again, baseball’s very reputation as a sport – the legitimacy of the game – cannot be questioned in this manner. Major League Baseball has to say, “The champions we previously awarded have now lost their titles. Baseball history will not recognize these teams as champions.”

Players have to know that cheating at this level will not be tolerated. They have to know that players who cheat at this level will face severe consequences including, possibly, removal from the game itself. Managers, coaches, executives, personnel, etc… must know that participation, or even knowledge of cheating methods like this will result in them losing their jobs. Franchises have to know that they glories the achieve through cheating, through scandal, will be vacated. Major League Baseball needs to be very clear that the price for cheating will sting – hard. Very hard. They have to make a clear statement that this will never be tolerated and will never be acceptable. Cheating can never be worth it. Baseball has to make sure that message is delivered loud and clear.

#Buzzer #Astros #Investigation #Cheating #MLB #RedSox #Scandal #Yankees

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