With Major League Baseball (MLB) spring training starting up and the players coming back in front of the camera, journalists and fans alike have wanted to know one thing: what do players think about the Astros’ electronic sign-stealing scandal?
Overwhelmingly, MLB players have been vocal about how insufficient the Houston Astros’ punishment was — as they should be. Popular players have a lot of influence, so it is vital that they keep using it to advocate for maintaining the integrity of the game.
Successful MLB players have massive platforms, and they should all use them to call out injustices in the organization so that the sport can continue to be fair for everyone.
I detailed the findings of MLB’s investigation of the Astros’ misconduct in 2017 and 2018 in a previous article. I argued that they should receive a harsher punishment, such as stripping their World Series trophy and penalizing the Astros players, to deter them and future teams from continuing to cheat.
Many MLB players, including local L.A. stars, have spoken out to denounce MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision to give immunity to the Astros players and let them keep their title.
“I don’t agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything … It was a player-driven thing,” L.A. Angels star outfielder Mike Trout said in a recent press conference. The three-time American League MVP added, “Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming — it would be pretty fun up there.”
As a player some consider the best to ever play the game, Trout’s words hold a lot of authority. He has the utmost respect of everyone who loves baseball, so if he continues to speak out about the issue it could force Manfred to reconsider the punishment.
Cody Bellinger, outfielder for the L.A. Dodgers and the 2019 National League MVP, did not sugarcoat his feelings about the Astros. Not to dwell on would’ves and could’ves, but there is a very good chance that the Dodgers could have beat the Astros in the 2017 World Series if Houston hadn’t known every pitch that was coming.
“I would say everyone in The Show, in the big leagues, lost respect for those guys,” said Bellinger. “Everyone knows they stole the ring from us.”
Bellinger may not be able to get the 2017 World Series trophy retroactively shipped to Los Angeles, but his statements and the words of other MLB players still hold significant power. There is a clear culture shift that needs to happen in order to make baseball fair and sincere again, and it has to start with the players.
Even L.A. Lakers star LeBron James was inspired by MLB players speaking on the issue. James came after Manfred on Twitter about his decision to pardon the Astros players.
“Listen here baseball commissioner listen to your players speaking today about how disgusted, mad, hurt, broken, etc. etc. [they are] about this,” James tweeted.
With over 45 million Twitter followers, James is one of the most influential athletes in the world, and just a tweet could have a huge impact. If other athletes outside baseball follow his example and use their platforms to denounce MLB’s failure to uphold the integrity of the game, Manfred could be left with no choice but to listen.
The players should have a responsibility to use their platforms to fight for systematic change. If they bring enough negative press to Manfred and the Astros, they can hopefully incite significant improvement in how scandals like this are handled.
No matter what happens, one thing is certain: the Astros can expect a whole lot of boos and beanballs this season.
This is the opinion of Ellie Kinney, a sophomore communication studies major from Boston, Massachusetts. Tweet comments to @emkinney4 or email comments to email@example.com.