Scout’s Take: A “Fair” Way to Cheat

So much has been said about baseball having to be fair over the past number of years. Who ever said baseball has to be fair? You’re out or safe because an umpire says so. Well that’s the way it used to be. Oh, we need instant replay and we need a machine to call balls and strikes. On and on it goes. What’s next, moving the mound back 24 inches? Oh wait, that has been proposed already.

Ok, I get it, baseball is always trying to keep up with changes in the world and are always looking for ways to make their fans excited. Always looking to improve their product for the fans. After all, they are the ones who pay the bills. I’m ok with some changes because both teams will be playing under the same conditions and rules. Sounds fair to me!

But one of the biggest things that make people loyal fans, is that they know the game is legitimate. It has been 100 years since the 1919 White Sox threw the World Series to the Cincinnati Red Legs in that year and baseball has been pretty darn successful in keeping the game clean. Albeit maybe a bit of collusion by the owners a few times.

The word cheat is part of the baseball language. We cheat to one side or the other to get a jump on the ball. We cheat leading off of a base to get us closer to the next base, etc, etc. And then technology entered the scene. Darn if those boys of summer took today’s ways of communicating to a new level of cheating.

First, we hear that the Astros were stealing signs in 2017 right into the World Series. Will that be a series that will forever be tainted? Did they win it fair and square? When you look at the Astros’ individual players’ batting averages, home and away, for the year in question, it kind of smells like the bottom of a trash can at the fish market in July.

Ok, the Commissioner’s office will be handing down some fines, suspensions and loss of draft picks next week in the Astros investigation. That should end it and all will be perfect in our national pastime again. Or will it?

Today we are hearing from numerous outlets that the Boston Red Sox are being investigated about using technology to steal signs in the 2018 season and through the World Series. One year after they were caught and fined for using a “Fit-bit” to communicate signs to the dugout. Gee wasn’t Alex Cora in the dugout with both of these teams?

Phew, that’s two World Series that are now put in a pot of swamp stew. The Dodgers lost both of those series and their manager Dave Roberts and the rest of that organization has been taking a lot of criticism for losing back to back fall classics. Sure, there were some questionable decisions in the dugout and front office analytics department by L.A. Maybe knowing what pitch was coming by the Astros and Red Sox helped, maybe it didn’t.

Bottom line is that there was cheating. Stealing signs has always been a part of the game but this is different. Maybe teams will find a way to combat the age of technology and how it is being used to cheat. Maybe MLB will figure out how to stop it. Who knows how many other teams are doing similar things. This will not end here with a fine and suspension. It seems today that it has become ok to cheat, lie and not follow the law of the land. Be it not stopping at a stop sign or not doing 20 mph in a school zone. It will happen again down the road.

Will we ever have a perfect game? One that is fair and no one is cheating. Absolutely not. Just keep in mind, it’s not the end of the world, unless it is your team being cheated.

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