Punishments for intentionally hitting Astros batters?


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Pierce Mullholland, Staff Writer

For those of you who have not been following sports for the past three years, or just cannot find three and a half hours to watch a bunch of millionaires in button-down shirts play the more serious version of wiffleball, the Houston Astros have been good. Well, more accurately, they have been dominant. In the past three years Houston has made the World Series twice, winning it all in 2017. This Houston Astros team had the makings of a dynasty with a star-studded offense led by Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve, as well as a shutdown pitching rotation led by Kate Upton’s husband (ace Justin Verlander).

Unfortunately for the Astros faithful, this all came crashing down this off season when allegations came out that they had been using video surveillance to steal signs during this span of superiority. Although decoding an opponent’s signs to gain an advantage is not against the rules on its own, the use of an electronic device to do so is strictly prohibited by Major League Baseball (MLB). In light of these allegations, the commissioner, Rob Manfred, launched an investigation that subsequently found the Astros guilty and the team was punished with fines, lost draft picks, and suspensions for the head coach and general manager. Although the Astros received a punishment, many baseball fans feel as though it did not go far enough. In many other sports, if someone is found guilty of cheating they have their title stripped from them. This has baseball fans asking why Houston was not stripped of their trophy, even though it is apparently just a piece of metal according to Commissioner Manfred.

Luckily for these angry fans and players who do not feel as though Houston received a fair punishment, baseball is not only policed by the commissioner’s office but also by the players themselves. There is a longstanding unwritten rule in baseball that if you act up the opposing pitcher is coming in high and tight with heat. Any time a player does something exceptionally disrespectful, they face the risk of getting thrown at during their next at bat. Typically, this comes as a result of showing off or talking smack on or off the field. However, due to the anger around the league at the Astros for not only cheating, but getting away with it as well, many pitchers may be looking to get revenge after being lit up for the past three years. In order to mitigate the risk of injury to the entire Astros lineup and the ensuing medical bills, Rob Manfred has stated that pitchers will be punished further for intentionally hitting Houston batters.

This raises the question then, should MLB pitchers be punished further for intentionally hitting Astros Batters? Of course not! Why should pitchers receive a harsher relative punishment for holding the Astros accountable when the MLB failed to? Pitchers should still receive the typical fines and suspensions that are given in these situations, but the commissioner’s office should not come down hard on these ball players that are doing what ball players have been doing for the past 150 years. It is fair to say that the Astros received their punishment, and we all need to move on and get back to playing baseball. However, when the sentence does not match the crime this argument simply does not hold up. The Houston Astros won a world series by cheating. Because of that they will be held accountable. Whether that be by the league or by the commissioner it will happen… we just need to grab a bag of popcorn, sit back, and watch nature take its course.