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By now the scope and breadth of what the Houston Astros were doing from 2017-2019 is well-documented. I'm sure we'll hear more in the coming months about exactly what the Red Sox were up to in 2018 as well, I don't get the sense that story has been fully told. With as much attention as this has received I think from punishment standpoint the participants involved have gotten off fairly easy. Yes, three different MLB Managers lost their jobs, as well as front office positions in Houston. There was a $5M fine for the Astros (the most that MLB was self-authorized to assess) and a loss of international pool picks (the latter stings far more than the former, the fine is chump change). Players not materially affected will carry the stigma of this, and the evidence is clear that basically the entire line up is implicated in one way or another. Who else gets the feeling that the MLB head office is jumping with joy that they may get away with this being sum total of the fallout?!? Here is a World Series champion caught red-handed not two weeks after the Series! Nobody questions that they cheated and gained a not-negligible advantage! Yet they've been able to deftly shift the discussion away from "So, should the Astros 2017 Championship be revoked?". There is SO MUCH going on here, and it's hard to even pin down my thoughts on what MLB should have done. Taking away a World Series trophy is a very big step, and in many senses there is absolutely no walking that back when this happens again (yes, something similar will happen again). The best MLB can hope for is to take very big steps against individual actors and hope the baseball-watching public sees justice. In the eyes of The Game those players are disposable. "But sign stealing is as old as baseball itself!", they say, and that is undoubtedly true. Technology has changed the way baseball fundamentally operates, so that fact that it's also being used to change the way teams cheat isn't surprisingly, but it's made it easier to catch those who are cheating, too! I've only scratched the surface here, this topic has tentacles that reach in a dozen different directions.
In our Sports Forum, we have a thread on your rookie quarterback, Deshaun Watson. I've followed Watson carefully for the past four years, and have watched every single moment, of every single game, that he has played for the past two years. If you're concerned that Watson can't be an "NFL-style," pocket quarterback, well, I think that's a legitimate concern, but I also think that Watson - even though he can scamper - has a pocket-quarterback mentality in his head. The scrambling quarterback works best in college; the pocket passer works best in the NFL, and I honestly believe that Watson has the tools and the discipline to be both. Here in Washington, DC, we suffered through the agony of watching Robert Griffin III, who won the Heisman Trophy for Baylor, and for whom the Washington Redskins gave up a *fortune*. RGIII was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and *deserved* it, producing one of the greatest seasons in NFL history by a rookie quarterback. However, RGIII was never taught to be a pocket passer, and the Redskins allowed him to be a sitting duck for the NFL's monster linebackers, who used him as a tackling dummy. The Redskins didn't take him out when he became visibly injured (it was very, very hard to watch), and just like that, RGIII's career was over (or, at least, it's probably over). Don't think for a moment that Deshaun Watson isn't acutely aware of the sad tale of RGIII. All he needs is to be taught how to transition from college to the NFL, and you just may have yourself an All-Pro-caliber QB for the next decade. I'm going to be pulling for the Texans, and for the great Deshaun Watson - I only hope that he has someone down there who can teach him properly; otherwise, all bets are off. One thing you shouldn't worry about is all these articles about Watson's interceptions. The articles fed off themselves; I actually *watched* every play Watson made for the past two seasons, and he threw a total of about five lousy interceptions; the rest of them came with a large dose of sheer bad luck, irrelevant situations (an 80-yard, Hail Mary with 2-seconds left in the half, for example) or missed patterns by his receivers - the interception tally wouldn't worry me in the least. You've got yourself a champion on your hands, and at least one person up here in Washington, DC who will be pulling for him. Cheers, Rocks
Not to pick the Astro's greatest World Series star but in season in 2014 while the Astro's were going nowhere Sports Illustrated ran an audacious cover story predicting the Astro's in the 2017 World Series, in fact winning it. SI cover stories: long described as a curse. This one was the complete opposite. Story
Considering their relative lack of big-name talent over the decades, the Astros have one of the most interesting *team* histories in all of baseball: * From 1888-1961, the only professional baseball in Houston was the Minor League Houston Buffaloes - a (mostlly) Texas League team affiliated (mostly) with the St. Louis Cardinals * They began their life as the Houston Colt .45s (after a "neam the team" contest - the Colt .45 was "the gun that won the West"). Their National League counterparts were the expansion New York Mets, and the two teams alternated draft picks from unprotected players from other Major League teams. * Several Houston Buffaloes personnel were allowed to continue working for the Astros, and some of the players made the team as well. * The Colt .45s played in the temporary Colt Stadium - very impressive for a structure meant to last three years. * In 1963, they picked up Rusty Staub and Joe Morgan. Incidentally, Staub is a known connoisseur of fine wine. * In 1965, they became the Astros (Houston being the "space capital" of the U.S.), and began playing in the "8th wonder of the world," the Astrodome. * There's plenty more about their history on Wikipedia - it's an interesting read if you're a baseball fan.