Houston Astros: Former pitcher takes the cheaters to court

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 04: Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mike Bolsinger (49) delivers the pitch in the fourth inning of a MLB game between the Houston Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park, Friday, August 4, 2017. Houston Astros defeated Toronto Blue Jays 16-7. (Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 04: Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mike Bolsinger (49) delivers the pitch in the fourth inning of a MLB game between the Houston Astros and the Toronto Blue Jays at Minute Maid Park, Friday, August 4, 2017. Houston Astros defeated Toronto Blue Jays 16-7. (Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Houston Astros: Former pitcher takes the cheaters to court

Seeking Accountability From the Astros

When Mike Fiers first blew the whistle on Astrogate to The Athletic, his reasons included him saying, “I just want the game to be cleaned up a little bit because there are guys who are losing their jobs because they’re going (against theAstros) not knowing.” Indeed.

Back in December, The Athletic‘s Molly Knight identified Bolsinger as one of at least nine pitchers whose careers got torpedoed by the AIA—including Matt Dermody, the pitcher he relieved in that fateful fourth inning.

More from Call to the Pen

Want to know how Dermody took it up the tailpipe?

  • Fisher, with second and third—He saw a pair of unbanged fastballs and pushed McCann home on a ground out to second.
  • Bregman—no bang, two-seam fastball, ball one; bang, curveball, taken in the dirt; bang, slider, called strike; no bang, four-seam fastball, two-run homer.
  • Reddick—bang, curveball, base hit, end of Dermody’s assignment. And, as it turned out, his major league career, too. The Jays optioned him to the minors the following day, then designated him for assignment the following spring training. He didn’t do very well down there, either. At this writing, he was a free agent as of last November.

Whenever any pitcher went against the 2017 Astros on the margins already, a send-down following an AIA-instigated roughing up cost them considerable money. The difference between a major league minimum salary or a $1-$2 million salary and the average minor league salary is the difference between a supermarket chain raking millions and a family grocery making high ten figures at best.

Astro players got immunity to spill to commissioner Rob Manfred and his bloodhounds. Manfred suspended general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane saw and raised, canning both post haste. Bolsinger wants the Astros held far more accountable and far more heavily penalized for Astrogate than baseball held and penalized them. By that light alone he may well garner a large crowd of sympathisers.

It’s pointless for now to guess how far his lawsuit goes before it’s either dismissed or ruled in his favor. Some might call it frivolous. Some might call it a bottom-of-the-ninth desperation stand from a pitcher who was marginal at best. Some might ask whether Bolsinger was a little too clever by half, considering the sentiment in Los Angeles for restitution and legitimate questions as to whether the case can have a truly fair hearing there.

Bolsinger doesn’t pretend that he was a great pitcher, even if he believes in his heart of hearts that he could have lived to pitch another major league day otherwise if things were played fair. But even marginal players have a right to know that, if they’re going to get driven right out of the majors, they got it because the other guys played straight, no chaser and really were better than him on the day of reckoning.

He’ll never really know whether the bang pitches the Astros did lay off would have been swung on and missed or put into play for outs if they had to guess what was coming. Which raises yet again the great unanswered question, whichever way Bolsinger’s suit goes.

dark. Next. Nationals: Dave Martinez and his job insecurity

The question that most needs to be asked, and answered, about a baseball team you’d have thought was the last team on the planet to need espionage to triumph the way they did—why?