Every-Thing Sports

How I feel about the Astros’ haters

Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve of the Astros
www.mlb.com/astros

Last Thursday, the Astros got to Spring Training and held a press conference to apologize for their sign stealing scandal. Getting out in front of something with an apology is ideal, but this was foreshadowed by team owner Jim Crane weeks in advance. It seemed as if Alex Bregman didn't want to be there, Jim Crane was uncomfortable, Dusty Baker was being Dusty, and Jose Altuve looked like he was held hostage. I wrote about them going full heel turn Thursday night and leaning into the bad guy role this season. The apologies didn't fair well with the public or some members of the media. That's when the fake outrage began.

I say fake outrage because most of the coverage of this has been strictly geared towards the Astro. Meanwhile, there are other teams (namely the Red Sox) who are also under investigation. Tea leaves are out there of the about other teams cheating as well (namely the Yankees). Why are they so riled up? Why do they care so deeply? Here's how I feel about the Astro haters:

Fake Outrage

The Red Sox investigation and report will be dropping any day now. They parted ways with manager Alex Cora. The Mets fired their manager Carlos Beltran as well. Both guys were with the Astros in 2017 and spearheaded the sign stealing. Beltran was with the Yankees before coming to the Astros. He told them they were behind the times when it came to sign stealing. Chris Young admitted he brought the use of an Apple Watch to the Red Sox after learn after learning it from the Yankees. Both teams were fined an undisclosed amount in 2017. That info was totally lost on me. I needed to use my Google machine. Why? Because there was very little to no coverage of it. The media, and MLB, probably didn't want to expose the two most popular teams in the league for cheating. Where was all this energy back then?

Extensive History of Cheating

MLB has had a storied history of cheating. For just about the entire 117 year history of the league, there's been cheating in one way shape form or another. Spitballs, corked bats, Vaseline, pine tar, sandpaper, greenies, steroids, Black Sox, and yes, sign stealing. I'm not even listing everything, just the things off the top of my head. The steroid scandal rocked MLB to its core. However, it's gotten to the point now where some of those guys are eligible for the Hall of Fame and are gaining more support every year. I heard some calling for bans for those guys, but it's largely died out. This too shall pass, but the extent of the vitriol seems to be much more aggressive now than in the heat of the steroid scandal.

Glass Houses

When you throw rocks at glass, it typically shatters. That's how I feel about a lot of these players going so hard at the Astros. Some of them more than likely have benefitted from some form of cheating. Maybe not to the extent the Astros have, but literally everyone steals signs in some form. The members of the media are just as bad. Some of them are hot take click-baiting to boost their following and ratings, especially that one crybaby punk from New York who's curiously ignored the teams from the Northeast and their parts in the cheating, but has a hard-on for the Astros. Keep that same energy when the Red Sox are exposed. I highly doubt Manfred has the balls to investigate the Yankees, so I won't hold my breathe.

Tomfoolery and Stupidity

From the frivilous lawsuits to the hot takes to the regurgitation of misinformation as fact, the tomfoolery and stupidity is in rare form. Social media has been a major platform for all the idiots out there who want to clout chase by jumping on the anti-Astro bandwagon. When I saw a season ticket holder filed a lawsuit against the team, I knew it was a clout chase. How can you sue the team you've given money to? People will often put things out there like this to draw to themselves. Media members and outlets do it for the clicks and ratings. But average people do it for other reasons. I need Raheel to do a "Follow The Money" segment on the people filing these lawsuits, the ones spewing misinformation, and especially the hot take media members.

To all the Astro haters out there: I got two words for ya...I'm so sick of the way people are responding to this as if they've lived guilt-free lives of perfect virtue. We all have done wrong and have all done things we regret. So who made us judge, jury, and executioner to those we attempt to pass judgement on? Look in the mirror before you criticize others and be willing to take your medicine when you do wrong. The Astros appear ready to take what's coming to them. They see the ravenous crowd with their pitchforks and torches coming. They know what they'll be facing. That's why I said embrace it. Relish in the role of the bad guys and become the cool heels that the crowd eventually has no choice but to cheer when they win the World Series this year.

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The Astros are back in action Friday night against Seattle. Composite Getty Image.

The Astros were a season low 12 games under .500 (12-24) on May 8th but were able to turn things around and entered the All-Star break with a respectable 50-46 record.

The turnaround can be attributed to better performances on the field by a multitude of players, but there are still things that could be improved to ensure a successful second half of the season.

As it currently stands, Houston is only one game behind the Seattle Mariners in the American League West division race, and the Astros should have key players returning from injury to further bolster their playoff ambitions.

The return of the King

Kyle Tucker has been on the injured list with a shin contusion for six weeks now, and looks to return in the near future.

The Astros have done surprisingly well without their three-time All-Star outfielder thanks to contributions from guys like Joey Loperfido, Jake Meyers and Marcio Dubon in the outfield. Plus, Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Yanier Diaz and Jeremy Pena carrying the offense while King Tuck is away.

Before getting hurt, the 27-year-old was hitting .266/.395/.584 through 60 games. Houston already has one of the best offenses in baseball, and adding Tucker back would give the Astros another high-quality bat to further bolster their lineup.

The latest update is Tucker has been playing catch and could start a rehab assignment soon if all goes well.

Fix the rotation

Starting pitching has been a major issue this season due to a multitude of injuries.

Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy and J.P. France have all been lost for the year with various surgeries and guys like Justin Verlander and Luis Garcia are trying to work their way back from their injured list stints.

Garcia was recently pulled from his rehab assignment and won’t pitch again until he is ready. Meanwhile, Verlander could be closer to his return and is throwing bullpen sessions as of July 14. Getting both of these pitchers back at some point this season will be a huge boost to this roster.

The current Astros’ rotation consists of Framber Valdez, Ronel Blanco, Hunter Brown, Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss. Although not a bad rotation by any means, the starting pitching depth is getting pretty thin and Houston can ill afford another injury to their staff.

Astros general manager Dana Brown has been vocal about his desire to add starting pitching, and could have some options heading into the trade deadline. Players like Jack Flaherty, Garrett Crochet or Yusei Kikuchi, just to name a few, could be low risk high reward pitchers the Astros could acquire to add depth to their rotation.

Another option would be to call up A.J. Blubaugh from Sugar Land. The 24-year-old has a 6-2 record with a 3.46 ERA in 71.1 innings pitched this season for the Space Cowboys and could be a necessary depth piece to add to the rotation.

Play Astros baseball

The Astros have been playing better baseball as of late and have won 18 of their last 23 games. With players like Kyle Tucker and Justin Verlander potentially returning soon, there is reason to believe Houston can make the playoffs for the 8th consecutive season.

The 'Stros will try to take sole possession of first place in their division from the Mariners when the two teams meet for three games at T-Mobile Park starting on Friday night.

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