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
Astros Players Should be punished with fines and suspensions. They CHEATED the game and won a ring by stealing signs!
MLB should hold these guys Responsible Period.
I like the idea, Jeff, even if there’s no way it will ever happen. Mike Fiers is included in this suggestion too. Unless Fiers himself returns his championship ring and $400,000 playoff share from 2017, he’s personally benefited from the cheating as well and suffered no ill effects. Sure, he blew the whistle on all this (apparently to MLB in 2018 to begin with, to no effect)… but he’s certainly no hero either.
I don’t care if Stassi ever returns anything, I just hope the Angels cut him and no one else ever re-signs him. That’ll be punishment enough there.
I like this idea Jeff, because it creates good and honor, it’s voluntary and therefor more meaningful. It doesn’t solve everything, but it starts a more positive outlet and dialogue and eases the tension. It’s bizarre and ironic that it no longer matters whether MLB vacates the Astros 2017 title, all any Astro on that team will be remembered for is cheating. The scandal has a life of it’s own, and their team identity and franchise mythos is now the Judas of Baseball.
I doubt that any of the kind of mea culpas we all want to have from the 2017 Astros roster are forthcoming, simply because I have no doubt that they have all been advised by their legal counsel that any substantive admission of guilt would expose them to endless and devastating civil litigation.
I am not saying this to defend these corrupt individuals in any way, nor to justify their in-your-face truculence and assuming of the victim’s mantle.
All I’m saying is that these guys really can’t do anything to undo the wrongs they perpetrated, and they can’t walk back their uniformly bad reactions to the discovery of them. I’m afraid that their only punishment going forward will come from their just being them, and from their having to live with the bad choices they made.
And all we can do as fans is make them own it–non-violently, non-threateningly, but volubly and incessantly until all their number have passed from relevance.
And no HoF for any of them.
I hadn’t considered that angle.
This is a great idea, Jeff!! I’m not good at this kind of thing, but maybe somebody could come up with a catchy hashtag to start a campaign to encourage the donation of WS earnings.
Living this as it develops probably gives us insight into how white sox fans felt 100 years ago…all baseball fans, I guess.
I’m thinking of Astros fans and how they’re dealing with it. Not well, from what I’ve read.
So obvious and sensible that it doesn’t have a chance of happening. Even the pitchers benefited from the hitters banging the cans, since leads can ease the burden on the pitcher, and help pad the stats like W-L records, which still have validity in arbitration hearings.
The bottom line to this remains: The players on the 2017 Astros aren’t sorry they cheated; they only regret getting caught. Contrition isn’t in their wheelhouse right now.
It’ll never happen, but it would be a good start.
They already spent it
Damned good idea. Contrition and help for worthy causes. Might save a few bruised rib cages come April.