MLB should punish the Astros, but how about the Giants?

By now you will know that yours truly loathes MLB because they failed to punish those who were responsible for the Astros sign-stealing scandal. The greedy MLB owners rather protect their product than punishing those who participated in this scandal. Instead, they banned the Astros’ GM and manager to save their face. 

I am going to play the devil’s advocate here. Even though I still think the responsible players must be punished, you can wonder if this makes sense as the New York Giants never were punished either. 

You may all know that the 1951 New York Giants cheated their way to the NL pennant by stealing signals from the clubhouse in dead center field. With a telescope, they could see the signs the catcher of the opponent gave to his pitcher. As soon as the persons in the clubhouse saw that, they signaled to the Giants’ dugout with a kind of electric buzzer system.

The New York Giants clubhouse in dead center field of the Polo Grounds

The sign-stealing started on July 20 and the Giants got back from a rather hopeless position miraculously. In their final 62 games, they went 50-12 (!). What makes it even worse, the whole Giants organization participated in it. With the Astros, only certain players did (and a certain coach named Carlos Beltran). 

The first time the truth regarding the Giants’ sign-stealing came out was in 1954 when Brooklyn Dodger Ralph Branca, who gave up the playoff winning home run to Bobby Thomson in 1951 and who was selected of waivers by the Detroit Tigers, learned this from his new teammate Ted Gray. The latter had never played for the Giants but learned about the cheating from Earl Rapp, who played thirteen games for the Giants in 1951. Branca confirmed the story with Giants catcher Sal Yvars. The latter started to talk about the scandal in public in 1990 even though it was already known in baseball circles. Nobody believed him back then. Some sources even say that the Giants also stole signs during the 1954 season that brought them the World Series title.

By 2000, the Wall Street Journal published an article about the scandal, placing the person who was the biggest victim in the center of the attention: Ralph Branca. Branca called the sign-stealing despicable; rightfully so. 

You can only wonder why MLB never reacted to the sign stealing. Likely because of the same reason as their lack of thoroughness with the Astros sign-stealing scandal: protecting their product. Why else did MLB turn a blind eye when the Mark McGwires and Sammy Sosas belted dozens of home runs with the use of steroids? MLB was hit by a dip in popularity due to the 1994 player strike and it needed all attention to become the great pastime it was before. So much the hypocrisy when commissioner Bud “Light” Selig declared a war on PEDs in the early 2000s. 

Adding this up, it is clear that MLB doesn’t care about the integrity of the game. All that counts are ticket sales, sales of MLB TV subscriptions, and the sale of merch. All other things simply do not matter. 

It disgusts me to say this, but as long as the 1951 (and 1954) Giants are not stripped from their titles, you cannot strip the Astros from their 2017 World Series title. You cannot ban the players involved. But that will never happen because of the aforementioned reasons unless baseball will get a commissioner who acts in the interest of the game instead of the interest of the greedy MLB owners. But that is nothing more than a pipe dream. 

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