Dodgers president Andrew Friedman recently accused the Astros of “playing the victim’s complex card” in response to Correa’s recent comments. The opposing fans and outspoken players, who are now finally having to acknowledge that the Astros are actually good hitters, still assert that this team deserves every bit of ill will directed toward it.
But here’s the thing — to a certain extent, the Astros are victims. Yes, they cheated. We know that. No one denies it and no one is happy about it. They were punished to the extent that the league was willing to punish them, so those who are angry that the players never got suspended should take that up with Commissioner Rob Manfred and the players union.
The Astros deserved punishment for what they did, but what’s happened to them over the past several months has gone far beyond that. Facts no longer matter. Narratives abound that the Astros never apologized (except they did), they deserved to be stripped of their World Series title (not gonna happen), and they never were humble or contrite about it (no amount of humility is going to satisfy these people).
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Illegal sign stealing was like steroids — MLB knew it was going on but did absolutely nothing to stop it until it was forced to finally take action. What’s happened to the Astros would be akin to Barry Bonds shouldering the entirety of the blame for the whole steroid era while Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and all the other juicers got off scot free. It wouldn’t make sense.
But the league has nonetheless allowed that to happen to this team, and the media and opposing fans are more than happy to disregard any facts or evidence that suggest the practice was rampant across the sport. How dare the Astros win their first World Series title while doing something many other teams were doing, and in fact didn’t help them much anyway?
So if the Astros, with Correa as their outspoken leader, are acting as if it’s them against the world, there’s a reason. They’ve been made into a scapegoat for something that’s been going on for decades, something that the powers that be were more than happy to ignore for as long as possible.
The haters have become so deranged that they continue making ridiculous, unfounded allegations and claim the league is somehow protecting the Astros. That’s a whole new level of crazy. They cherry-pick stats and spin facts to try and bolster their bogus claims and make themselves feel morally superior while downplaying the reality that other teams were doing the same thing.
The Astros have every right to be mad. What they’ve been subjected to this year has been far beyond what they’ve deserved. Nothing would be more satisfying than if they won another title and bathed in the tears of everyone who wanted them banned from the game. As for Correa, give that man a lifetime contract and let him say whatever he wants.