Recently, Major League Baseball penalized the Astro’s with a loss of draft picks, with fines, and banned two senior executives for a year as punishment for cheating during the team’s World Series season in 2017. This renders all the success the Astro’s had that year as permanently tainted. Many in the Astro’s organization landed high paying jobs with other clubs based not only on the success the team had, but also on the process which included an emphasis on analytics and strategic losing for years to build the farm system.
In fact, the Angelos family made important hiring decisions for the Orioles predicated on the success of a team that cheated all season including the playoffs and during their World Series victory in 2017. It does not mean Mr. Elias, the Oriole’s GM, a former Assistant GM with the Astros, cheated or knew about it. But it does mean the well is tainted. The Astros success and the long painful process that created it, is not nearly what everyone thought it was before this announcement. There are likely to be more penalties meted out to the Red Sox whose manager imported the Astro’s cheating scheme in 2018, the year Boston won the World Series.
Many fans have been critical of the Orioles decision to lose on purpose-tanking-in order to win later. The Orioles are planning for several years of terrible teams to get great draft picks, just like the Astros did. It is akin to cheating the fans today so some lucky fans of the future might be grateful. That strategy has lost it’s luster now that the Astro’s World Series victory is forever tarnished.
Dudley Thompson lives in Girdletree, MD., population 106. He was born, raised, and lived most of his life in Baltimore. He worked for the News-American on the advertising side until it closed in ‘86. His second career was teaching in juvenile jails for the Maryland State Department of Education. He holds a Masters in Liberal Arts from Johns Hopkins University, ‘77, and a B.A from the University of Maryland,’74.