MLB: The cheaters don’t always prosper

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. presents the Commissioner's Trophy to the Houston Astros owner Jim Crane after the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 1: Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. presents the Commissioner's Trophy to the Houston Astros owner Jim Crane after the Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images) /
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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images) /

MLB: The Cheaters Don’t Always Prosper

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Now, guess what? Baseball has survived the worst ever since Billy the Kid shot his first victim, Thomas Edison invented the record player, the Washington Post was born, and four Louisville Grays were caught tanking games for fun and profit and banned for life, forcing the Grays to fold out of the National League of which they were charter members.

Baseball survived the 1877 Grays. It survived the 1910 St. Louis Browns trying to hand Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie the batting title against Ty Cobb. It survived the 1919 White Sox and the rampant gambling further exposed. It survived first the disgrace of the color line and then the growing pains that followed Jackie Robinson‘s courage. It survived Cincinnati’s semi-organized campaign of stuffing the All-Star ballot box on behalf of the 1957 Reds, which cost fans the All-Star vote for over a decade to follow. (And, alas, didn’t quite end such stuffing in the long term.) It survived two in-season strikes, the Pittsburgh drug trials, owners’ collusion, Pete Rose, and the era of actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances.

Just as every last presidential and Congressional election in our lifetimes has been called the most. important. election. in. history. (with or without hysterical tones), practically all baseball’s most notorious scandals have been called the most. embarrassing. scandal. in. baseball. history. But I have something to say to Evan Longoria and to everyone who loves the game as deeply as I do, the foregoing history notwithstanding.

As you do not go gently into that good grey night, as you rage, rage, against the blasting of our faith if you must, remember while you rage the wisdom (and double-negative mastery) of a baseball sage named Sparky Anderson: “We try every way we can think of to kill this game, but for some reason nothing nobody does never hurts it.”

Next. Astros: here are the next sign-stealing casualties. dark

It doesn’t feel that way, now, and how long it feels that way depends in great part on what further baseball’s government can and will do to thwart Astrogate-like espionage without wrecking the technology that (yes, it does) enhances rather than embalms our game. But it always proves true in due course. For which those who love the game, and those who play the game honorably, should never lose gratitude.