In Hindsight, the Houston Astros 2017 World Series Win After They Clearly Cheated Is Emblematic of America Today
“Everyone does it” sadly has become the right answer.
To paraphrase The Troggs’ song “Love Is All Around” made famous by the movie “Love Actually,” cheating seems to be all around us. Even worse, cheating without consequences has become the order of the day. Now, as a lifelong Los Angeles Dodgers fan, I’ll admit the Houston Astros 2017 World Series Championship gets under my skin more than most people. We all now know they cheated that whole season, but it wasn’t just that they cheated to win; rather, their cheating impacted the careers of several players and lured other clubs into spending money on their players who never again attained the stats from that season (and part of the 2018 season until they finally got caught). For a short video analysis of the cheating scandal, see this video that breaks down the use of garage lid banging, whistling, and likely buzzing devices to tip off players on what pitches were coming. Former Astros player and Manager Carlos Beltran admitted to the cheating when he noted that "they used a combination of whistles, claps and bangs on a trash can to communicate with their hitters. He also said that they had a monitor in the tunnel behind the dugout that showed the live feed from the center-field camera.”
The cheating climaxed in Game 5 of the World Series against the Dodgers when future Hall of Fame pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who had pitched a gem in Game 1 in Los Angeles, suddenly went from untouchable to very touchable starting in the fourth inning. Here are the most stunning stats from that game and season:
In Game 5 of the 2017 World Series at Minute Maid Park, Kershaw threw 51 breaking pitches to Astros batters and miraculously didn’t swing at any of them...Of all of Kershaw’s devastating hooks that give catchers nightmares, not one Astros’ hitter took the bat off their shoulders to even attempt to hit Clayton’s pitches. The Astros couldn’t get a hit or a walk off Kershaw in the first three innings, then exploded for four runs in the fourth frame and three more in the fifth inning before he was taken out of the ballgame.
Astros players batted significantly worse on the road than in the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park.
Alex Bregman: Road – .154 BA, .508 OPS; Home – .273 BA, .857 OPS.
Carlos Correa: Road – .211 BA, .626 OPS; Home – .371 BA, 1.164 OPS.
Jose Altuve: Road – .143 BA, .497 OPS; Home – .472 BA, 1.541 OPS.
Brian McCann: Road – .037 BA, .198 OPS; Home – .300 BA, .849 OPS.
Evan Gattis: Road – .200 BA, .533 OPS; Home – .300 BA, 1.014 OPS
You can believe batting average swings of .119, .160, .329 (that number as an average itself is MVP territory), .267 (also an enormous jump), and .100 are perfectly normal, but I can assure you only one ballpark gives home team hitters a little boost and it ain’t in Texas (its in the thin air of Colorado). The worst part of the cheating scandal was that after Major League Baseball (MLB) investigated the Astros and found they had cheated, the 2017 World Series Championship wasn’t voided. I don’t believe the Dodgers should have been awarded the Championship, but MLB absolutely should have taken it from the Astros for the integrity of the game. If it had any class, the Astros organization would have voluntarily forfeited the championship. You can understand why so many fans from other teams boo Altuve wherever he goes given his monstrous .329 improvement in batting average (and over 1.000 OPS jump) the moment he arrives in Houston.
Why am I detailing this scandal? Because I think it is emblematic of America today: cheating/stealing is commonplace and few suffer consequences for doing so.
Let me give you another example that is occurring nearly every night somewhere in America. Individuals and groups enter or break-in to stores and take whatever they want then leave without paying. Those thieves (we use to call them that) aren’t tracked down using modern geocaching, facial recognition, and social media scouring technology, arrested, and prosecuted. Their thievery is so significant stores are shutting down to end the massive financial losses they are facing from it. In one report, “The National Retail Federation said its latest survey of members found that inventory loss cost retailers about $112 billion.” Another report noted that "Target this week cited large-scale theft and safety concerns for employees and customers for its decision to close nine stores in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland,” as "Whole Foods and Nordstrom recently closed locations in San Francisco for the same reason.”
Not only aren’t these thieves pursued, the Left excuses their conduct as some sort of protests or inequality issue related to basic needs. I have no idea what ransacking Yves Saint Laurent and Nordstrom stores for $400,000 worth of high-end merchandise has to do with getting food, housing, and health care, but maybe I’m just not woke enough to understand. Regardless, robberies occurring in plain sight are now commonplace and the perps get away with it.
Just last week news came out that the University of Michigan (That Team Up North) has allegedly been stealing offensive signs since the 2021 college football season. The NCAA investigation is underway, so we still have much to learn. Given that the Astros got away with cheating, it isn’t unreasonable to believe that Michigan Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh (or someone on his staff) made the decision to gain an advantage on defense by stealing offensive signs from opponents. College football is now about little more than big money, so, when your team goes a combined 6-31 since 2001 against your biggest rival, Ohio State, and in Bowl games, desperation to win at any cost would be a luring proposition. Maybe Michigan won fair in square against Ohio State, but one has to wonder how after losing eight straight games Michigan suddenly walloped Ohio State in 2021 and 2022. An interesting data point as pointed out by Kyle Lamb, from 2015 to 2020 under Harbaugh, Michigan went 32-38-1 against the spread, but since 2021, they have managed an impressive 22-11-2 against the spread. That is quite the turnaround.
That brings me to how this “it is okay to cheat/steal” mentality even pervades our political system, which is legitimately undermining the core fundamentals of our Republic. I won’t rehash in detail what I’ve previously discussed, but the Left’s pervasive cheating and lying politically has been widespread. From the Clinton Campaign’s Russia Collusion and Alfa Bank hoaxes to the fraudulent Muller Investigation, from the flawed impeachments of Donald Trump to the knowingly outright falsity of the 51 intelligence officials' letter re Hunter Biden’s laptop, from the media’s gross and ubiquitous bias towards the Left to Mark Zuckerberg’s $500 million “investment” to tilt the election to Biden, from violating state laws on election processes to flood the system with unverifiable votes to the double standards of justice used by the Left against the Right, from defending the indefensible Biden Family corruption to defending feckless foreign and border security policies that are jeopardizing America’s security, there isn’t a line the Left hasn’t crossed, erased, obliterated, or moved over the last seven years. Yet, other than one guy at the U.S. Department of Justice (Kevin Clinesmith) who got a wrist slap, not one person involved in any of these improper activities has suffered a consequence for what he or she did. Not one.
Even worse, after the facts have come out, the Left doubles down on their improper actions. No one personifies this fact better than former CIA Director Leon Panetta. When recently asked if he regretted signing on to the fraudulent letter claiming Biden’s laptop was Russian disinformation, Panetta said, "No, not at all. I signed that letter for one reason, which was to make the American people aware that the Russians deliberately were engaged in a disinformation campaign in the United States and trying to impact on our election and trying to impact on our ability to have free and fair elections. That's why I signed that letter.” Panetta knew he was lying when he signed the letter because the CIA and FBI said the laptop wasn’t Russian disinformation, which Panetta would have been told as the former CIA Director. In the three years since he signed the letter, even Hunter has admitted it was his laptop and the contents have been verified multiple times by people who sent or received emails or texts with Hunter. No matter, Panetta had one goal that was served: he beat on the Trump-Russia dead horse to impact the election and it worked, as Trump lost by 43,000 votes in three states.
So, despite being told throughout childhood that the right answer to cheating or stealing can never be “everyone does it,” America has entered the era in which that answer isn’t only true, it sadly has become the right answer.
P.S. On energy issues, I’ve long argued against the true viability of the “green” energy craze and electric vehicles. Here is a Twitter thread I wrote with key graphics on why from Saturday:
Data rich energy graphics: (1) despite far greater population difference, US CO2 production < Germany, Poland, Mexico, Italy, Turkey, Australia, South Korea & Japan; (2) of course China, India, Bangladesh & Indonesia (2,363) hitting huge numbers w/ total > all in (1) combined; (3) doubling of electricity in 32 years from 11,000+ TWh to 26,000+ renders belief can all be generated using “green” energy sources pure fantasy; (4) despite huge investments in hydro+solar+wind+other “green” energy, total in 2022 < global electricity needed back in 1990 & (5) while oil is down slightly & nuke flat, coal & natural gas grew significantly since 1990 generating roughly 62% of all electricity needs—seems to me we should invest MORE in nuclear & gas to phase out coal over time which will meet our GROWING electricity needs w/o harming global economies.