MLB: Don’t hold your breath for the ’17 or ’18 World Series being vacated

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02: Houston Astros display a 2017 World Series Championship banner fduring pre-game ceremonies on Opening Day at Minute Maid Park on April 2, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02: Houston Astros display a 2017 World Series Championship banner fduring pre-game ceremonies on Opening Day at Minute Maid Park on April 2, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images) /

When Reichler’s article hit the press running then-commissioner Ford Frick said he couldn’t act on the ’51 Giants’ cheating without hard proof. He didn’t exactly rush to swing the hammer on the ’61 Reds, either.

The 1911-1914 A’s were suspected but never proven, and somewhat autocratic American League president Ban Johnson wasn’t about to take them to the retroactive woodshed. Former players on the ’40 Tigers and the ’48 Indians confessed their teams’ sins in due course, but when Greenberg’s and Robinson’s memoirs finally hit print then-commissioner Bud Selig wasn’t exactly prepared to pull the retrospective cheaters’ pennants and World Series back, either.

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Manfred got the hard-enough proof right from the Astro horses’ mouths . . . but he gave the players immunity in return for that proof and suspended the bosses who got fired post haste, anyway. Right there the commissioner would have even less call than mere precedent to vacate the ’17 World Series title.  And for all we know it took Manfred promising the same player immunity to get the full story of the Red Sox.

The Astros have to live with images as apologetically-unapologetic cheaters. They’ll be known as the Asterisks everywhere they go for a long time to come. The Red Sox will be known as the Reconnaissance Sox or the Spy Sox likewise, though whether it’s apologetic or unapologetic depends on how they respond publicly to the final report and hammer on their espionage.

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And they’ll both have all the booing, catcalling, insulting banners, and snarky Twitter trash talk you might expect attached to that. Especially the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium, where the Olde Towne Team is normally considered about as welcome as the coronavirus. In today’s over-under-sideways-down world, that may yet be more than enough punishment. In the baseball world, it’ll have to be.