Friday Focus – So, What Ever Happened to the Cheating Investigation in Boston?

Friday Focus

Well, in a nutshell, it’s over. Rob Manfred blurted to ESPN that the investigation is over into the Boston Red Sox use of electronics to cheat and that he has not had time to write the report due to all the events surrounding COVID-19.

That’s it, no hints given of the findings, no timeline for when the report would be put together short of “by the time we play baseball”. I can certainly understand this and many other things taking a back seat to the situation at hand, but if the Sox were engaged in anything close to what Houston was, it better not be buried.

There are several executives and players who will wear a permanent stain at the very least, and I truly doubt the executives will find employment in the game anywhere. Stiff penalties were leveed on the Astros and just because the news cycle has shifted from cheating to when the hell are we going to play is no reason for favoritism.

Maybe this all comes down to time and place and Mr. Manfred simply doesn’t want to get into it at this time. That’s fair honestly, and I could understand if that happens to be the motivation for not publicly stating the outcome. As it stands, I have to assume the findings were rather benign or he’d almost have to come out with it for fear of looking like he sat on it.

If that’s the case, why not deliver some good news by clearing one of the most prominent clubs in MLB? The stench of this scandal has been overshadowed, rightly, by the crisis we face as a country, but there will be a return to normalcy at some point and when we do, I’d hope the answers show that the investigation was as thorough as it was in Houston.

Or are we simply accepting that this sort of thing was more widespread than any of us wanted to see previously? Let’s say the findings in Houston had tentacles that led to Boston and New York, perhaps beyond. Does it behoove MLB to stop it in its tracks? In other words, is it best to pretend Houston is the only cheater, put our heads in the sand and claim “We Got ‘em!”

 I’ll be honest, that’s my first thought. When the news started breaking about the widespread cheating the Astros pulled off, I immediately started wondering how far this would go. When executives were pinged, I thought it has to stop here for better or worse. If not the punishment in Houston is far too severe. Essentially, they would be paying because they did it better than the competition and won.

Otherwise you end up with a league full of front offices that resemble fields of land mines. Much like Steroids where some players were outed, most were left with a passed test and the problem was all but considered eradicated.

If you can’t fathom accepting that some cheating will always play a role in sports, you might want to stop watching. It stretches back as far as competition and cheating is in the eye of the beholder. Let’s look at Sammy Sosa, here is a guy who never tested positive for steroids, but c’mon. Does anyone ever talk about the time his bat exploded and it was filled with cork? We have real evidence of one cheat, but it wasn’t the hot topic, steroids were. In other words, MLB didn’t want to have that fight, they were more than engaged in the other already. I wonder if this is the same situation with different circumstances. Time will tell, but the questions shouldn’t disappear just because we want them to.

Published by Gary Morgan

Former contributor for Inside the Pirates an SI Team Channel

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