AJ Hinch, Jeff Luhnow and Alex Cora Deserve Everything That's Coming to Them

Alex Cora and AJ Hinch had no right to be this brazen
Alex Cora and AJ Hinch had no right to be this brazen /

AJ Hinch had no right to laugh off a sequence of allegations, mimicking a genuine, giggling dismissal in what's now been uncovered as a particularly cloying acting job.

Alex Cora had no right to win a title under false pretenses, take a job in Boston, and impart the illicit lessons he'd learned onto a whole new city, resulting once again in historic over-performance.

Jeff Luhnow had no right to pretend he was surprised by any of this.

But, if you look back on 2017-2019 across Major League Baseball, you'll see Hinch and Cora front and center, smirking and preening their way through championship seasons, riding the highest possible horse and refusing to entertain getting off.

In reality, it's not a joke.

And then there's Cora, who, to be fair, often showed the utmost respect for the opponents he'd felled by illicit means.

Oh, no, wait, sorry, I got my wires crossed. He celebrated a World Series title by telling the rivals he'd bested a full month prior to "suck on" it.

The actions are deplorable. The consequences are justified. But the hypocrisy from the parties involved hits me the hardest.

You likely noticed, in the hour between MLB's announcement and Hinch and Luhnow's firing, that Commissioner Manfred included plenty of details in his report about how deeply Hinch disagreed with what was transpiring under his watch. This is, with all due respect, a steaming pile of ass-covering. If Hinch cared so deeply about dissuading his players from this behavior, he had no recourse beyond...disabling the monitors? What method of monitor destroying do you think he used? Unplugging them while speaking at a slightly-elevated volume? "I swear, guys, if I catch you using these monitors 38 more times, we might have to consider a warning!"

Hinch had well over 162 games in 2017 to put a stop to the behavior. He had the 2018 season, when Houston's sudden playoff failure against Cora's Red Sox seems to make more sense -- after all, who knew their tricks better than the ringleader? He had 2019 as well, when he shamed the Yankees for their entirely accurate accusations, before being hoist by his own petard and leaving Gerrit Cole in the bullpen, pulling his very own Zack Britton maneuver. Buck Showalter would be proud -- but not of the way he treated the game. After all, Hinch detested the sign-stealing method so much that he merely staked his entire reputation on it. He liked the winning. Quite a lot, actually.

Any self-serving, conciliatory comments from Cora in the next few days after punishment is levied will be equally phony. He orchestrated the system. He's the only non-player named repeatedly in Houston's report. He liked the taste of the resulting victories so much that he brought the fruits of his labor to Boston, the second World Series winner he'd touched in as many years, and also the second one under investigation. Funny like a clown.

Hinch, Luhnow and Cora spent most of their time in the spotlight acting like they'd uncovered the secret to baseball, in much the same haughty fashion Joe Lacob once brought to the NBA's Golden State Warriors. As it turns out, they had, but not by the letter of the law.

Keep laughing, AJ and Alex. It's funny because it's true.

A wise man once summed up the proper reaction to this scandal perfectly, in fact. I can't remember the exact terminology he used, but I believe it was something along the lines of, "Suck on it."