Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Caught Stealing

The stolen base in Major League baseball has become a relic of another era, theft being deemed an unnecessary risk, the chance of success insufficient, the penalty too severe.

But it seems that not all robbery is equal. In the 21st century, the rewards of banging the can quickly far outweigh its drawbacks. And as they say in that old commercial, "a World Series ring", priceless.

Looking for advantage in sport, fair or not, is as old as the earth and as omnipresent as the sky. The Black Sox of 1919 did not introduce cheating to baseball, the Patriots were not the first to act outside the constraints of the rules in football, the substance on Sonny Liston's gloves that temporarily rendered Cassius Clay near blind not the first abuse of the mandates of the Marquess of Queensbury, Lance Armstrong not the one and only miscreant in cycling.

And the art of stealing signs in baseball from the dugout, with the aid of only the human eye, has in fact not been denigrated but revered. Carlos Beltran, now the one in the eye of the storm after the summary dismissal of two managers of recent World Series winners, was a renowned wizard in this arena.

But lines in the sand are drawn, and in the past generation in baseball, the use of steroids was that line. Yet for McGwire, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens, A-Rod and many others the opportunity to prolong and enhance careers, to earn many millions more, to change the trajectory of one's life and provide financial security for generations unborn of your family, was too great, too enticing. The downside too remote and even should it come to pass, insignificant by comparison.

And now in pilfering intended messages from catcher to pitcher with an assist from modern technology, the possibility of championships acts as an aphrodisiac too powerful to be offset by what, a fine equal to maybe 2 to 3 percent of the payroll of the team and the loss of draft picks that might never have meaning for the team's future. Even the removal of a manager and general manager, acceptable collateral damage. Not one player on your roster penalized for participating in the wrongdoing. Almost too good to believe.

And, unlike Lance Armstrong, Houston did not have to forfeit its prize. Not even an asterisk by the designation as World Series winner. The commissioner's call: safe at home plate.

Who says crime doesn't pay? 


Anonymous said...

And the owner, the one responsible for everything under him, left not only virtually unscathed, but almost applauded for his “response”


Anonymous said...

I heard they are forming a new baseball team called 'The New York Asterisks"--RE

Anonymous said...

Houston Astros: 2017 World Series champions*
New York Yankees: 2017 American League champions


AcrossTheHall said...

Welcome to the technological world of theft by any means necessary.

Lou / APT 8A