The Yankees have a rippling current surrounding the team, suggesting something was stolen from them. Not the case – nowhere even close…
Yankees players and coaches became angry with the Astros during Game 1 of the ALCS when they noticed a whistling sound in the Astros’ dugout — which they believed was an over-the-line example of sign stealing, and a violation of the game’s unwritten rules.
It turns out the Yankees weren’t “hearing things” that were not there.
The Houston Astros have been indicted, charged, and convicted in Major League Baseball’s court tribunal for violating established and well-advertised league rules prohibiting stealing signs.
In the aftermath of MLB’s lengthy investigation, Commissioner Rob Manfred has sought to make things right with a host of suspensions, forfeited draft picks, and a $5 million fine levied against the Astros.
A concurrent MLB investigation is nearing a conclusion involving Alex Cora and the Boston Red Sox regarding charges of the same kind.
Yankees: Bitten Yes – But Not Slayed
In both cases, the Yankees have been indirect participants in the shenanigans of both teams. But the accusation or belief the illegal actions of either side cost the Yankees is misguided and weak as a reason why they Yankees lost and “they” won.
First, what is the actual value of knowing in advance that a specific pitch is coming your way?
Come to find out, Astros hitters didn’t know it was a “certain” pitch, only that it was going to be off-speed or a fastball.
A batter still needs to execute by placing the barrel of his bat on an oncoming 99 mph fastball coming in from, for instance, Aroldis Chapman.
It’s not that black and white, and certainly not an automatic even if it’s Carlos Beltran or Jose Altuve with a bat in their hands.
The Yankees Did Not Execute
There will not be an asterisk next to the 2019 ALCS won by Houston against the Yankees. Nor should there be one.
As a team, the Yankees hit a woeful .214 against the Astros in the 2019 ALCS. Over six games, The Bronx Bombers displayed their usual power with ten home runs, but all that power went for naught as they averaged slightly higher than three runs (21) per game.
Joe Girardi, back when questions were beginning to be asked as far back as 2017, told northjersery.com:
“I wasn’t shocked,’’ said the new Philadelphia Phillies manager, who had similar suspicions when he managed the New York Yankees against Houston in October of 2017.
At that time, “We had put in a lot of things to try to combat certain things,’’ Girardi said. “You know, word gets around.’’
Yeah, word gets around. But banging on a garbage pail, clapping, or whistling as the Astros are said to have done to relay the oncoming pitch to one of their hitters do not alone win or lose ballgames.
Thus far, nothing significant to the contrary is coming from the Yankees camp, and it’s best if it stayed that way.
Let It Be – Make 2020 Count For Something
There’s nothing to be gained by going back in time, asking why John Wilkes Booth was permitted to get anywhere near Lincoln’s box at Ford’s Theatre.
Or why a commercial plane ascending on takeoff and moving away from Iran territory was seen as a threat and subject to a missile launch and subsequent takedown.
The Astros have sufficiently been taken to the toll by MLB, and the Red Sox are likely to be next. Let it be.
Sweet (non-violent) revenge is the best form of punishment available to the Yankees when October rolls around.
And that’s assuming the Astros or Red Sox will be a team in line to face the Yankees in the 2020 ALCS…And if they don’t make the postseason, how would that be for just desserts?