It is the time of the year where the World Series takes center stage. While a prediction is a norm (I had the Astros in six, so much for that one), it isn’t really what is on my mind during this Fall Classic. This World Series features a pair of teams and fanbases which are problematic, to say the least. The Houston Astros cheating scandal is well known throughout the baseball world, so there is little need to explain why they are despised. The players were not punished, and the trophy from the 2017 championship will remain in Houston. Opposing the Astros are the Atlanta Braves. This is the land of a tomahawk chop and fans dressed in warpaint. They play in a home stadium that was recently built partially due to the local demographics (meaning fewer Black people). It is easy to deride both of the participants in the World Series, but it got me thinking about how every team and or set of fans has their issues. No one is without sin.
A not so insignificant story of the off-season will be the fate of Trevor Bauer. The Dodgers pitcher will definitely be suspended. They also employ Julio Urias who has been involved in more than issues with women. For Dodgers fans, the story of Julio Urias and current Boston Red Sox player Alex Verdugo assaulting a woman in an Arizona hotel room is an inconvenient truth. San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler is involved in this situation as he did nothing to adequately adjudicate the situation (he addressed this as part of his introductory press conference in San Francisco).
The Los Angeles Angels are currently in the middle of a court battle as their former communications director Eric Kay supplied Oxycodone and Fentanyl which led to the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs. They have also a history with former MVP Josh Hamilton and his battles with addiction.
There is COVID-related craziness such as San Diego Padres pitcher Mike Clevinger. He and Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach Plesac went out on the town and then lied about it to the team. The fallout from the lie is part of the reason Clevinger is in San Diego now. Plesac had to drive himself home from Chicago to Cleveland and whined about it the whole way back. Mind you they had a teammate Carlos Carrasco who is a cancer survivor and highly vulnerable to the effects of the virus.
There is the whole domestic abuser wing of the rogues’ gallery within Major League Baseball. Aroldis Chapman still is employed by the New York Yankees. Jeurys Familia is in a New York Mets uniform. Odubel Herrera was back on the Philadelphia Phillies roster by the end of the season. Guys like former Minnesota Twin Sam Dyson are still on the fringes of the sport. I have not forgotten about the Houston Astros Roberto Osuna and the Altlanta Braves Marcel Ozuna. There are is Addison Russel the likely former Chicago Cub. The list can go on and on.
The Chicago White Sox are managed by Tony LaRussa, reached a plea deal after getting arrested for driving under the influence. The New York Mets had General Manager Zack Scott arrested for the same thing (he was fired earlier today). The Toronto Blue Jays were once managed by a guy named Time Johnson who lied about his service in the Viet Nam War. The organizational issues are not just limited to the players.
Fans of all teams like to castigate opposing teams for their failings. I believe I have shown there is no team without a blemish on their character record within their past. We should save the righteous indignation for something else. It would be naive and disingenuous to think the Houston Astros are the only team cheating, or the Atlanta Braves are the only teams with some real questions which need to be answered about issues concerning race. Teams will do whatever is needed in order to win. For many teams and fans winning is the only thing that matters.