Should MLB Players strike on behalf of a harder Astrogate hammer?

FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Tony Clark of the Major League Baseball Players Association speaks during a Boston Red Sox team workout on February 21, 2017 at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida . (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Tony Clark of the Major League Baseball Players Association speaks during a Boston Red Sox team workout on February 21, 2017 at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida . (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Should MLB Players strike on behalf of a harder Astrogate hammer?

What Hughes thinks the MLB players union should strike over is a workplace condition issue. On-field gamesmanship is one thing, but teams still have the right to play the game without fear that the other guys took gamesmanship unfairly off the field and into subterranean surveillance and secrets-stealing.

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When a former player suggests his now-former union shut the game down because one team went rogue and got off with just a fired executive, a fired manager, a seven-figure fine, and the cheaters walking around loose on immunity (two of them have since become ex-major league managers thanks to their Astrogate culpability, of course), we’re boldly going where few unions have gone before.

Dare yourself to visit any social media outlet lacking for even an hour’s worth of Astrogate-related raving. Dare yourself to visit two days’ worth of Twitter and not find a handful of players bellowing everything short of the Astros getting away with premeditated murder and Manfred getting away with a kind of plea bargain. Hughes speaks to a very real and mostly justifiable sentiment.

It’s a sentiment Trout shares even if he hasn’t suggested he’s just about ready to hit the picket line over it. “It’s sad for baseball,” the defending third-time AL MVP told reporters after arriving at the Los Angeles Angels’s spring camp. “It’s tough. They cheated. I don’t agree with the punishments, the players not getting anything. It was a player-driven thing. It sucks, too, because guys’ careers have been affected, a lot of people lost jobs. It was tough.”

Trout couldn’t resist a moment’s speculation, though. “Me going up to the plate knowing what was coming — it would be pretty fun up there,” he said, entirely facetiously, very well aware that there isn’t a professional hitter alive who wouldn’t feel that much less on trial if he knew what was coming instead of having to guess as normal before swinging or taking.

(Don’t even think about it. Those who persist with comparing Astrogate favorably to the era of actual or alleged performance-enhancing substances ought to remind themselves: Even the juicers still had to hit what was thrown to them without advance knowledge, until or unless a teammate on base sent them a stolen sign the old-fashioned gamesmanship way. Alex Wood wasn’t just talking through his chapeau when he said he’d rather face a juicer than a sign stealer.)

Now, see if you can resist speculating as Hughes couldn’t on the sight of a players’ strike not to secure or protect their previously hard-earned rights but to secure stronger punishment for the illicit electronic sign-stealing cheaters. Have any active players steaming over Astrogate thought of what Hughes has thought of?

For that matter, has the union leadership—which is seen as likely to have screamed blue murder if Manfred had either rejected immunity for Astrogate players or fanned their behinds anyway once he thought he had the full story—pondered a strike unless their rogue local, so to say, is punished further for its miscreants?

Would they strike for stronger punishments against the stolen sign swingers? Against Astros owner Jim Crane, who put his foot so far into his mouth last Thursday that he resembled either the biggest ignoramus in Houston or the most corporately culpable man in baseball for fostering the kind of top-to-bottom culture that allowed the conception, never mind the deliverance of the AIA?

Next. Blue Jays: The argument to extend Jr. and Bichette. dark

You may have an easier time figuring out how to hit a well-delivered changeup and how to throw a dead fish past a barracuda named Mike Trout than answering those questions. And you may have to wait on that changeup less time than on the players’ union deciding whether to take Hughes up on his suggestion.