“If a man can sin with impunity, he will continue to sin. Especially if he gets paid for it.” — Eliot Asinof, “Eight Men Out”
Baseball’s commissioner has spoken. After hours upon hours of investigation and inquiry by MLB’s in-house detectives, Rob Manfred finally dropped the hammer last week on the Houston Astros, all for a sign-stealing conspiracy dating back to their championship 2017 season.
The two most important people in the Astros’ baseball hierarchy — field manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow — were suspended for the entirety of the 2020 season. A dual suspension of two top-level club officials for that length of time made the penalty unprecedented. Their boss, Astros owner Jim Crane, subsequently fired them both. While Manfred’s report absolved Hinch and Luhnow of masterminding the sign-stealing scheme, their reputations were tarnished. Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora and New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran also were let go just a few weeks in advance of spring training after their roles in the scheme were clearly spelled out in Manfred’s report.
Manfred also stripped the Astros of their top two picks in each of the next two amateur drafts. That, too,…