With punishments handed out Monday in the Houston Astros’ electronic sign-stealing saga, some loose ends were resolved. Suspensions and fines were issued, draft picks were taken away and MLB unleashed a nine-page recap of its investigation that painted a bad portrait of the Astros and their leadership.
But there’s one thing that might never see resolution: Did the Astros deserve to win the 2017 World Series?
At the end of MLB’s three-month-long investigation, the Astros remain the World Series champions for 2017, the year the sign-stealing scheme was in place. While fans in other cities might attach their own asterisk to the Astros’ championship, MLB did nothing to diminish Houston’s title.
The investigation even included a reference to the Astros using their sign-stealing techniques during the 2017 postseason — so it’s not a question as to whether the cheating was contained to the regular season.
With that, Astros owner Jim Crane was asked Monday during his post-punishment news conference whether the sign-stealing scandal — and all that we now know about it — taints the Astros’ 2017 title.
His response? “Absolutely not.”
Jim Crane says "absolutely not" when asked if this taints 2017 World Series title. Dream on.
— Tom (@Haudricourt) January 13, 2020
Might want to ask fans in L.A. and New York about that.
This came minutes after Crane showed public accountability by one-upping MLB’s punishment and flat-out firing manager A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow, so it would appear his contrition only extends so far.
The fact is the owner of the Houston Astros isn’t the one who gets to make this call. They’ll still fly their banners and wear their rings, no doubt about it. He’s not going to vacate his own title.
But if we’ve learned anything about sports, it’s that the community that watches it every day often has a different opinion than the owners in their suites.
And in this case, history might end up with a different take than Jim Crane on whether the Astros’ title is tainted.
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