For the first time ever, Major League Baseball is relevant in February. That’s thanks to the Houston Astros, who are embroiled in a cheating scandal they—alongside MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred—have sloppily, reflexively defended to such a degree that every day, more and more people are getting viscerally angry about it. Not just the sports pundits, either: When LeBron James is weighing in on baseball, you know you screwed up.
A quick recap: MLB recently concluded an investigation into the Houston Astros revealing that the team stole signs during its World Series-winning 2017 season, as well as during at least part of the 2018 season. A bunch of non-players lost their jobs, including Astros manager A.J. Hinch, general manager Jeff Luhnow, and Mets almost-manager Carlos Beltran (an Astros player in 2017), who didn’t get to manage a single game. The Astros also lost some draft picks and were fined $5 million. (Their owner is worth $1.3 billion.) Commissioner Manfred tried to downplay the situation by calling the championship trophy “a piece of metal,” for which he had to apologize. And the players involved in the cheating, who were granted immunity by Manfred in exchange for their cooperation, pinkie-swore they didn’t cheat after 2018.
So now we’re witnessing a pig-pile of no-hitter proportions from all corners of sports-dom. Here is a list of the best “f—k the Astros” comments so far.
Los Angeles Dodgers, Understandably Sore Losers
The Dodgers organization is the saltiest about the signal-stealing scandal, and for good reason: Los Angeles fell to Houston in game seven of the 2017 World Series. It is reasonable to assume that sans cheating, the Dodgers would’ve allowed a couple less runs, which means they’re champs right now. And they’re very aware of it.
Cody Bellinger, reigning NL MVP
From Los Angeles Times reporter Jorge Castillo: “I thought Manfred’s punishment was weak, giving them immunity,” Bellinger said. “I mean, these guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don’t realize is [Jose] Altuve stole an MVP from [Aaron] Judge in ’17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us.”
Bellinger went a step further, separately accusing the Astros of cheating beyond mid-2018, and floating the (unproven) theory that Houston star Jose Altuve was wearing a wire during games:
Justin Turner, third baseman
Turner, a key member of L.A.’s 2017 squad, says Houston didn’t deserve to win a title. But he saved most of his ire for the commissioner, unleashing arguably the best burn of this debacle thus far.