Every-Thing Sports

How I feel about the Astros’ haters

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 media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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