Opinion: MLB Commissioner Should Resign After Astros Scandal

The Houston Astros were recently involved with a cheating scandal that spans from 2017 to 2019.

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The Houston Astros were recently involved with a cheating scandal that spans from 2017 to 2019.

When it was revealed that the Houston Astros used illegal techniques for sign stealing between 2017 and 2019, many expected the league to impose aggressive penalties on the team. A large section of MLB’s fanbase encouraged the league to award the Dodgers the 2017 World Series, and impose lifetime bans on the players and coaches involved.

Instead, Commissioner Rob Manfred imposed penalties that were meaningless and failed to address the problem. The league booted Astros owner Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch from the league but didn’t ban them from returning in the future. The comically small $5 million financial penalty cost less than some replacement players, and the loss of two draft picks was a price any team would pay for a World Series.

The league penalties were completely ridiculous, and may have encouraged cheating inadvertently. Most if not all teams would accept the risk of two draft picks, $5 million, and a one-year suspension if caught; if their actions could ensure a World Series trophy guaranteeing them millions in revenue. 

In my opinion, the league should have suspended all players on the 2017 team, regardless of where they play now, for one year. In addition, Jose Altuve, apparently a key figure in the scheme, should have been banned for life. Luhnow and Hinch’s suspensions were especially trivial because they can return to the team after this year, with no future penalties.

The Commissioner’s attempts at consequences put the responsibility on the teams; a responsibility many teams would sacrifice. Recently, the New York Mets’ Carlos Beltran was forced to resign after the revelation of the scandal, giving hope to fans that players from the 2017 Astros won’t be welcome in the league. But some teams have no reservations about signing and protecting domestic abusers, such as Roberto Osuna, so hoping that consequences from cheating will scare these teams is unrealistic. To me, placing the responsibility on the teams shows Manfred’s lack of qualification for the job.

Essentially, the entire core squad of players (Bregman, Altuve, Gurriel, Correa) in the worst cheating scheme in the history of the game have escaped without penalties. While the league would undoubtedly claim that the damage to their legacy is sufficient, this goes to show that the league tolerates cheating in order to provide more offense in the game.

Between this grand debacle and the repeated juicing of the ball, Rob Manfred has sold out the game’s integrity for profit. Houston’s revenue from their “dynasty” of lies has dwarfed the penalties, and in turn, the league has profited from the cheating scheme. 

In my opinion, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred should step down immediately. He has normalized cheating by punishing it with inconsequential fees. He has juiced the ball to the point at which MLB has become a home run contest. He has instituted bizarre rules throwing away 150 years of strategy; and worst of all, he has sold out the game when it needed a leader the most. MLB will take a long time to recover from the damage he has caused, and it’s time for Commissioner Manfred to resign before he causes any more.