Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and players Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve addressed the media today for the first time since the team was caught cheating. Their apologies were insincere at best and Crane even denied that the cheating definitely helped. It's clear that those involved are fine with whatever punishment they did or not suffer. After all, they did win the World Series and you can't take that away. *Dramatic pause* Or can you?
MLB punished Houston by taking away some draft picks, fining the organization $5 million, and suspending their manager and general manager a year. Escaping official punishment are the players involved and anyone who profited off the ill-gotten rings.
The reverberations of the Astros' cheating will haunt Major League Baseball for the foreseeable future. Players who were involved are going to see an increased number of high and inside pitches throughout the season until MLB steps in. And when that happens, they will be forced to justify harsher penalties for players policing the game than the guys who cheated to win a World Series. Baseball people love policing the game and if MLB is unable to punish those involved going forward, then maybe they should look backward and strip the Astros of their World Series title.
Should the Houston Astros be the first professional sports team to ever vacate a championship? We see this all the the time in college sports. We know the Fab Five went to two Final Fours and USC won the 2004 BCS National Championship, but those schools aren't allowed to admit they happened. The memories are still there, but "officially" they are false memories.