IN DEFENSE OF FIERS
Jan 27, 2020, 3:01 pm
This article originally appeared on CultureMap.
Former Astros pitcher, Mike Fiers, might not have been the right person — but he did the right thing.
Voices on radio and social media are complaining that the Astros were unfairly singled out by Major League Baseball's lowering the boom and suspending manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow in the sign-stealing scandal, followed by team owner Jim Crane firing both of them, preceded by the owner firing the assistant general manager and demoting the team president.
Assistant general manager Brandon Taubman was dismissed after he made vulgar comments to female reporters. Astros president Reid Ryan was demoted because, well, that's an owner's prerogative.
I don't understand why anybody in the media or Astros' fan base is furious at Fiers for squealing on the Astros, or Major League Baseball for punishing the Astros so severely. They're screaming, "the Astros got screwed!"
No they didn't.
Don't be angry at Fiers — be angry at the Astros. They cheated. The Astros broke the rules on their way to winning the 2017 World Series. This was after they, and every other team, were warned not to use technology to steal signs.
The Astros aren't denying it. Hinch has apologized for it. Former pitcher Dallas Keuchel said "apologies are in order … for everyone on the team." What's hard to understand what happened? Fiers doesn't have clean hands in this saga. He played for the Astros in 2017, didn't go public about the cheating back then, and took the bonus money and glittery ring for the Astros championship.
None of that changes the facts about the Astros wayward ways. The argument — "everybody does it" — is a weak excuse. Didn't your mother ask, "If Billy jumped off the Empire State Building, would you?" Agent Scott Boras' claim – "the players just did what they were told" – is historically inexcusable. I cheer for the Astros, but I am disappointed that they cheated.
The sad part is, they probably didn't have to. The lineup was loaded with amazing players. I'm also surprised that ESPN announcer Jessica Mendoza and Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez believe this entire cheating scandal should have been dealt with in-house by MLB. That's not how things get accomplished. In-house is how problems get buried. In-house is how problems get fixed with settlements and non-disclosure agreements.
Continue on CultureMap to read why Ken Hoffman believes whistleblowers should be honored.