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2020-02-24T20:54:25Z
Boston Globe columnist Armstrong Williams wrote:
Quote:

Baseball’s failure to exact price for cheating could destroy game

By ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS |
February 24, 2020 at 12:58 a.m.
Nothing creates a moral hazard more than exposing corruption and yet failing to punish those responsible. That’s what happened in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, and that’s what’s happening in baseball today. The rationale for failing to punish Wall Street corruption in 2008 was that big banks were “too big to fail” and had to be propped up to save the world economy. The rationale in professional baseball in the aftermath of the Houston Astro’s sign-stealing scandal is that by fully exposing the scandal and holding those responsible accountable, baseball risks losing credibility and popularity.

The moral hazard here is that sweeping the problem under the rug with no accountability — as Commissioner Rob Manfred seems hell-bent on doing — provides zero incentives for teams to play fair and creates the risk that the next cheating scandal will be more destructive. And because the problem has been neither fully brought to light nor appropriately resolved, it creates a deep sense of uncertainty among teams heading into spring training.

First, pitchers and catchers will have a difficult time preparing for the season because their reviews of their own past performance cannot be relied upon. They won’t know, for example, whether their pitches were hit or intentionally fouled because of the quality of the pitch or the change-up called, or whether the opposing team had advance knowledge of their intended throw. Secondly, and with even more impact, more teams, believing there is very little downside consequence for being caught cheating, may start to employ their own version of electronic sign stealing, believing it necessary to maintain a competitive edge.

Such is the nature of the drama that brought us the asterisked careers of Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong. They believed in moral relativism; they argued that they should not have been penalized just because they were able to cheat better than the rest of the field, most of whom were also using banned substances. But there is a distinct difference here. While Bonds and Armstrong suffered severe damage to their legacies and reputations, the Houston Astros have neither shown the slightest degree of contrition nor apologized for their cheating. It is almost as if despite being caught, they still got away with it.

The reason why MLB decided not to hold the Astros accountable for their misdeeds by stripping the team of its 2017 World Series championship seems all the more craven in retrospect. One suspects that everyone involved knows that Astros players and managers were not the only ones’ involved in sign-stealing operations. Other teams did it, too, but were less effective. In essence, it could not definitively say that but for the Astro’s cheating, they would have lost the series. MLB seems to be hoping that because the Astros ultimately outed all the bad actors, they will now suddenly play by the rules. But accountability does not work that way. The mere admission of wrongdoing is not tantamount to punishment. If only shaming the rule-breaker were enough to overcome the other competing incentives — namely, the insane amount of money that a winning franchise stands to earn. Money dwarfs all other concerns.

Athletes across the world of sports feel demeaned, not by the cheating itself, which is a part of sports, but by baseball leadership’s failure to effectively address the problem. Deep feelings of hurt transcend baseball and extend to all professional sports. NBA star LeBron James took to Twitter to call out MLB Commissioner Manfred by name, imploring him to fix the issue: “Listen I know I don’t play baseball, but I am in Sports,” he complained, “and I know if someone cheated me out of winning the title and I found out about it I would be (expletive) irate!… Literally the ball is in your court (or should I say field) and you need to fix this for the sake of Sports!” Amen.


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Cheesey (27-May) : The irony is, you don’t get the irony. (Just kidding!)🤪
Nonstopdrivel (27-May) : I must have missed the joke. What is the irony?
Cheesey (25-May) : I think I’ll “irony” my laundry...🤪
Zero2Cool (25-May) : The irony lol....
Nonstopdrivel (23-May) : Agreed. I love doing research. I submitted a paper to a journal a couple of days ago. Fingers crossed that it gets accepted.
Zero2Cool (20-May) : Research projects can be tons of fun!
Nonstopdrivel (20-May) : I don't have any hospital responsibilities, just the endless onboarding process. I'm working on some research projects too.
TheKanataThrilla (18-May) : Is it vacation now NSD or do you still have hospital responsibilities?
Nonstopdrivel (16-May) : I'll be moving to Myrtle Beach in June.
TheKanataThrilla (16-May) : Congrats NSD. When are you moving?
Nonstopdrivel (15-May) : And thank you, everyone. Your kind words are much appreciated. It's been a long, long, long time in coming.
Nonstopdrivel (15-May) : Except that I'll be getting me Lombardi Trophy in the mail in a few weeks (Delayed by the idiotic coronavirus pan(Dem)ic, of course.
Cheesey (15-May) : Congrats NSD! I’m sorry u had to watch from home. Must feel like having a ticket to the super bowl, and watching on TV instead
yooperfan (14-May) : Congratulations NSD!
KRK (14-May) : Now you are truly Dr. NSD. Bravissimo
wpr (14-May) : Congratulations NSD. It's an honor in whatever form.
Nonstopdrivel (14-May) : my*
Nonstopdrivel (14-May) : Watching my medical school commencement from by living room. 😂
Cheesey (14-May) : My favorite position on the Packers is the PUNter!😝
Cheesey (14-May) : Does that mean I should be PUNished?🤪
Nonstopdrivel (12-May) : I'd say most of your puns recently have been more of a stretch than string cheese, but Nostridamus was a masterpiece. I wouldn't nominate it for a Pullitzer anyway.
Cheesey (12-May) : LOL Wayne! I appreciate your comment. You and Non made me feel my “cheesiness” is still worth something here.
wpr (12-May) : I will apologize Cheesey. I saw it and considered it to be the typical cheese spread. I failed to recognize the masterpiece of pun it truly is. mea culpa
Cheesey (12-May) : Nonstop, I honestly wondered if anyone would get it! And you probably were the only one! Good job!🤪
Nonstopdrivel (11-May) : "Nostridamus" -- that might be your best pun yet, not least because it took me almost an entire day to get it.
Cheesey (11-May) : Wayne...is she gonna keep YOU?😂
Cheesey (11-May) : Nostridamis told me that Booger was being released....from the end of my finger!😁
wpr (10-May) : last December. I think I'll keep her.
wpr (10-May) : Today's Mother's Day. My wife can watch whatever she wants. What was on our tv? Pride and Prejudice? Sense and Sensibility? Something on Hallmark Chanel? Nope. Star Trek, Dr Who and now Packers-Bears
Zero2Cool (10-May) : Both guys on MNF are replaced.
KRK (10-May) : Seriously, IMO he was excellent in the role he was in the previous year
KRK (10-May) : To be fair to the guy it snot all his fault.
Cheesey (10-May) : No “Booger?” I heard he was hand picked!😂
Nonstopdrivel (10-May) : Booger McFarland won't be back in the MNF booth this year. And there is much rejoicing.
Nonstopdrivel (10-May) : Happy Mothers Day to our resident Kevins: Zero2Cool and KRK.
Nonstopdrivel (10-May) : Nah, my record is squeaky clean. It's just a reminder of better times and bad mistakes.
KRK (10-May) : NSD, when you have a history of crime, it can't be easy :-)
beast (9-May) : A link to it on twitter
Nonstopdrivel (9-May) : Filling out background check applications is so fucking depressing.
KRK (9-May) : Beast, where did you see that...re Watson/Bears.
beast (9-May) : And PFT pulls back information from before his draft (including his own words), to suggest Watson might currently be mistaken.
beast (9-May) : Deshaun Watson tweets "The bears NEVER ONCE talked to me.." when aruging against the Bears evaluating him... on a discussion about teams choicing QB based on race.
Zero2Cool (8-May) : Yup. Make it like week 11 or something. Have some Hall of Fame induction thing or something.
Nonstopdrivel (8-May) : I would rather the entire league took off the same week.
Cheesey (8-May) : I don’t like it either, Zero. But there’s not much we can do about it.
Zero2Cool (8-May) : It'd be more important if the BYE was later. I don't like how the NFL does their BYE weeks.
Smokey (8-May) : Week 5 Bye as important as a game !
Zero2Cool (7-May) : And now it's being said Vikings week 1 vs Packers.
buckeyepackfan (7-May) : @Colts wk1 @Saints wk3 @49r's wk5 Yikes! 😁
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