The never ending Houston Astros cheating scandal has no rolled into Spring Training. Story after story there have been comments and discussion about who benefited the most. Well in one very real way, they all benefited: playoff bonus shares. To the tune of over $400,000 each share.
Whether they heard one trash can bang or 100. Whether they were the drivers of the cause or simply sat there quiet, complicit in a scheme they didn’t have the backbone to stop. Whether they were Carlos Beltran or Max Stassi, they each took down over $400,000.
Thus far the Astros have used the Commissioner’s gag order to their advantage and no meaningful words have come from their mouths. Some former Astros have come forward, but even then with just words and half hearted apologies.
But no gag order, no words can ever speak as loudly as action.
So, members of the 2017 Astros (probably you guys on the 2018 and 2019 squads too) if you’d like to actually show some contrition and make something good come from the black stain you’ve placed on baseball, take some action. Donate those ill gotten playoff bonuses to charity.
For many of the Astros players, the financial hit would barely make a dent in their financial portfolio. For some that hit would be pretty severe. But for those on the receiving end of those funds, it would be life changing.
Jose Altuve has made over $31 million in salary and has another $145 million coming. Donating $400k would not take food off his table, but it would show a level of contrition.
Marwin Gonzalez has $12 million coming after signing a free agent contract based off of statistics that were lies. If anybody should be lining up to give out money it should be him. He’ll never perform the way he did in 2017 and he knew it when he signed the contract, just as Houston did when they DIDN’T sign him to a contract. $400k to a charitable cause would be a good move for him.
The Angels own Max Stassi was on that squad. Like Marwin, his 2017 stands out like a sore thumb. Unfortunately the Angels traded for him based at least in part by fraudulent statistics. What’s done is done, but Max still has his $400k. It would hurt a guy like Max, with $1.6 million in salary earning thus far in his career. And I would give him 10 times the credit I would give the richer players, but we all know it won’t happen.
The players could pick a cause they already support. There would likely be tax benefits, but more importantly lives would be changed. $400,000 would fund a Boys and Girls Club for quite a while, send a few kids to college, or fund a couple of doctors to research a serious disease. They could fund shelters that help victims of guys like Roberto Osuna.
Fans everywhere are clamoring for the Astros to give their trophy back, but the trophy won’t impact lives. The trophy won’t feed a hungry family. That trophy will always have a mental asterisk next to it and is already tainted. It is the Barry Bonds home run record of World Series titles.
In the next couple of months we’ll probably hear plenty of apologies from Astros players as the show up to Spring Training then head off to the season opener. Some will say things we want to hear, others will hide behind a report.
But words are not actions. When I’d get in trouble as a kid and promise to be better my dad would always reply “don’t tell me, show me.”
So, Astros, I say the same to you. Don’t show up in front of the cameras saying you are sorry. Show me. I’m giving you an idea of a great way to do so. Take that ill gotten money and do some good with it.
Photo by Eric Enfermero