This past week a Major League Baseball investigation concluded that the 2017 Houston Astros cheated to win the World Series. They stole signs that catchers put down to let the pitcher know which pitch he should throw (curve, fastball, changeup, slider, etc.) through an elaborate electronic system of cameras, and then players banging on trashcans in the dugout to alert batters of what was coming. It is the greatest cheating scandal in modern baseball history. Only the 1919 Black Sox affair, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox took mob money to throw the Series to the Cincinnati Redstockings eclipses it. And maybe not even that, as only part of the team was implicated. It is clear now that everyone in the entire Astros organization was part of the scheme to steal a title. All eight men on the White Sox were banned from baseball. Those guys didn’t have a union. Current players do. Thus, they were granted immunity to come clean. They did. They told MLB that they all cheated, all season, and during the playoffs. They admitted that their individual achievements and their team title were a complete and utter fraud. So, Astros owner Jim Crane, in a CYA move for the ages, fired manager, A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow after the league fined the team, took away draft picks, and suspended those gentlemen for a year. However, the counterfeit title stands. Again, it was a fraud, but there it is, in the record books.
Was it worth it?
The answer would have to be yes.
The players are likely being vilified behind closed doors from fellow players who rightfully whisper if they knew what pitch was coming, or more importantly, which one was not coming, they too could win an MVP award, just like Jose Altuve did that year, or their entire team could lead the league in every offensive category, or go 8-1 in the post season at home where the cameras and system to spy were set up. Sportswriters, ESPN, and fans of other teams are registering their disgust loudly. No one outside of Houston actually considers them the legitimate champions of anything, but who cares? They have rings. They have awards. They got all the outside-the-game revenue that comes from being a champion, from being considered the best. It’s still there. Cheating helped that happen. Good for cheating.
Of course, the very next year the Boston Red Sox took the World Series, winning a ridiculous 108 games, and they also had an MVP, Mookie Betts, and led the league in all the pertinent offensive numbers. The stat-heavy Five-Thirty-Eight web site actually said they were the closest thing to the immortal World Champion 1998 Yankees that went 125-50 that we never thought we’d see again. Their manager, Alex Cora, had been the architect of the Astros cheating as a coach in Houston, so, of course, the Red Sox were caught using video monitors to steal signs. Why not? “If it ain ‘t broke, don’t fix it” is how the saying goes. The Red Sox are now under investigation and Cora was sacked to save face. Their title is also a goddamn fraud. But it still says 2018 Champs, so was it worth it?
You’d have to say by the standards of American ingenuity and success, absolutely.
Take the New England Patriots, aka America’s Cheat Machine, its coach, Bill Belichick, aka Belicheat, and its bogus quarterback Tom Brady, aka Tommy Tuck-Rule (look that one up, it’s a doozy), who have been making a mockery of the rule book for over a decade and as such winning championships and awards after championships and awards. It’s a tragic fucking joke what is going on up there. And everyone knows it. The league has repeatedly fined and disciplined and suspended and warned and castigated this gory lot for camera and audio spying, deflating footballs, finding weird loopholes in rules, and other illegal shenanigans. The players, coaches, owners, front offices, and fans of the teams they have repeatedly cheated have screamed from the rooftops. For a while. But everyone loves a winner. Beantown loves to say everyone is jealous or that they’re being persecuted. Everywhere else watches the Patriots get slapped on the wrist, as another freaky thing occurs while everyone winces, and things go on as before. Tainted Super Bowl titles stay in the record books. Hell, “if you ain’t cheating, you aint’ trying,” is another old saying that applies here.
So, you see, none of it matters in the end, and all of it has led to an unprecedented era of winning for the Patriots. Even their owner Bob Kraft, aka Nasty Krafty, was busted in some sex trafficking, porn video, massage parlor shit, and he gets to go back to his luxury box and preside over all this cheating. Because winning is the thing, how this achieved is a bunch of detailed bullshit for moralists. Fairness? Fuck that. Sportsmanship be damned.
Then we have our game show president. Holy shit, what a corruptibly insane asshole Donald Trump is. He gets help from a foreign enemy, and, like his rich daddy would, denies it happened, like every stupid thing he says and does. He fights the United States intelligence community, goes to Russia, tells our press that Russia didn’t do it, then when he is up for re-election, tries to threaten another foreign nation to help him win again.
He is our greatest and most successful cheat. He sidestepped his way into the most powerful position in the world. If everyone on the Astros, Red Sox, and Patriots shot everyone walking down Fifth Avenue, he can pardon them. He can assassinate heads of state. He can take people from their land to build an imaginary wall. He can even shut down baseball and pro football if he wishes. He is the shit, and he’s lied and cheated his way there, and that is a lesson for us all.
The illegitimacy of the President’s 2016 win becomes ever more into focus with every new allegation and piece of evidence that comes down on what eventually got him impeached.
Impeached? Stained? Tainted?
Sure. But Trump still gets to be President.
Was it worth it? Fuck yeah!
Even when you erase the hoary characters from this fiasco, the entire electoral process is now in question. Who knows who’s currently hacking into the private emails of a major American political party, spreading false information and passing it off as news on Facebook, or even queering the vote counts of how many counties in how many states? Who knows?
But without all this, there is no victory in 2016 or the presidency. So, cheating worked spectacularly and may work again. Hell, those who voted for him or share his politics agree it doesn’t matter if he cheats. They love tax cuts, conservative judges, a rising stock market—and for those of us covering this hot mess—there is a shit-ton of craziness to get into print.
It is all on the table and a win-win for everyone.
Ask the U.S. Senate, who are preparing to sweep all of this President’s constant cheating and stonewalling under the rug. They will cheat to victory and move on for more cheating. Because cheating is in.