As much as we’d all prefer to move on from the Astros cheating scandal, it just plainly will not go away. And in all likelihood, the headlines will return once the commissioner rules on the Boston Red Sox in their cheating allegations.
So if we’re going to live in a world ruled by Astros cheating headlines, we might as well cover them all.
As the wind was dying down on the Houston scandal — going against the well thought out advice of Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish — Astros players chose to still speak out on the reverberations around the league. In particular, pitcher Lance McCullers spoke out on the subject as Houston players were trying to move away from the scandal and look to the new season.
“Those guys aren’t going to have to face us, which is maybe why they feel like they can speak like that.” -Lance McCullers (Astros RHP)
— Tim Cates (@timcates) February 20, 2020
Indeed, the pitcher who didn’t even pitch in 2019 shared his thoughts on the recent vitriol against his team days after the storm had died down.
Here’s the quote from McCullers:
[The teams talking trash are] going to have to play us. Except for the guys who are popping off the most. Those guys aren’t going to have to face us, which is maybe why they feel like they can speak like that. But we’re moving on. That’s not what people may want to hear, but we stood here as men and we addressed [the scandal].
To clarify, he’s talking about the Dodgers… mostly. Atlanta Braves All-Star Nick Markakis spoke out against the Astros by calling their cheating ways “damaging to baseball” and stating that “every single guy over there needs a beating”. Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant was less than complimentary as he called the Astros’ apology a “disgrace.”
But if we’re being realistic, McCullers more than likely had Los Angeles on his mind.
Enter to Win a Justin Turner Signed Bat!
Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger ripped the Astros and devalued Houston second baseman Jose Al-tat-uve’s 2017 AL MVP award. Moreover, Justin Turner went off on both the Astros and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. For as much as manager Dave Roberts is ready to move on, Dodger players, and MLB are all very much not.
For the entire 2020 season and likely beyond, the Astros will have a target on their back (perhaps literally). As much as they try to run from their past transgressions, or tough-guy their way around them, any play from that 2017 World Series title team will forever be label a cheater, even if MLB won’t officially.
One final note in this storyline, McCullers is a pitcher in the American League which means the designated hitter rule protects him from potential retaliation. So, for intents and purposes, this feels like one of those pot calling the kettle black situations.