The suspension and protracted delay of the start of the 2020 MLB season has seen the Houston Astros truly make out like bandits. Fans of the sport were hoping to make up for commissioner Rob Manfred's ridiculously weak punishment for their sign-stealing scandal by berating them to no end throughout the campaign.
With that no longer in the realm of possibility due to the coronavirus pandemic, it's only fitting that we blame the Astros, specifically former general manager Jeff Luhnow, for the current state of baseball. ESPN insider Buster Olney made this exact analogy in his latest "Sunday notes" article.
"It's as if Major League Baseball's leadership has embraced the Luhnow mindset in these tortuous labor negotiations, because the owners keep making these absurdly incremental offers at a time when the broader international context calls for decisive and bold action," Olney writes.
Houston has violated the integrity of baseball in a number of ways. The latest such scenario featured implementing a complex sign-stealing operation to win games -- which included a World Series in 2017. Before that, they tanked for three straight years from 2011-2013, they became the first team to lose at least 106 games in three straight years since the 1962-1965 New York Mets. Their payroll over that three-year span was also $53 MILLION fewer than the next-lowest team -- the Pittsburgh Pirates -- to maximize profits in every way possible as they waited to see their dishonorable formula through.
Now, league owners have been opportunists in the wake of nationwide financial adversity sparked by COVID-19 and have went to great lengths to impose their supposed superiority over the players association throughout their so-called negotiations.
The comparison made by Olney is not a reach by any stretch of the imagination. Both Houston and MLB exploited every possible inch of advantage presented to them, and if the veteran ESPN writer wants to blame the latter for the former's current state of affairs, we certainly aren't going to fault him for it.