Just last week, it was announced that four Houston Astros were selected to the MLB All-Star Game this year in Denver, Colorado. Now, one week later, all four of those Astros have dropped out of the game and the team currently has no representation at the All-Star Game (unless, you count the mascot, Orbit). Each player has their own reason for opting out of the game. It started with Carlos Correa...
Next, Jose Altuve...
Lastly, it was Brantley and Pressly...
I will be the last person to question any of these dudes on whether or not they should play. For the record, I think all the excuses are legitimate. But, I also think there's a larger thing here at play that none of the players will ever admit. They're backing out of the game as a way to give a giant middle finger to Rob Manfred and MLB. And, even with me being the Angel fan that I am, I'm all for this.
The Astros were wrongly done by Major League Baseball. Some of you reading this may not agree with that but hear me out. The Astros were made the scapegoat of a league wide problem that has been going on for decades. The only reason they are the scapegoat is because they actually won the World Series. If Mike Fiers had blew the whistle on the 2017 season and the Astros had done anything but win the whole thing, no one would care nearly as much. If anything, they would be made fun of. "Haha, you guys cheated and you still couldn't win!" is exactly what people would say on Twitter. You can't deny it because you know it's true.
This isn't the first time this has happened either. And, by that I mean a league wide problem getting so big that the league has to act. The steroid era was exactly the same thing. MLB knew that steroids were a problem in the league going back to the 80's with The Bash Brothers (McGwire and Canseco). Fast forward to 1998, MLB badly needed the home run race between McGwire and Sosa and looked the other way when it came to the steroids then. A couple of years later, Barry Bonds started demolishing records in his late 30's and early 40's. Something that is completely inhuman when you think about it. Only after he destroyed both home run records did MLB actually look into it and decide to lay down the law. The league turned a blind eye to steroids for years and didn't do a damn thing until Barry Bonds put too much of a bright spot on steroids with his strength. They looked the other way until the problem became too big and they finally had to act. That's the same thing that happened here with the Astros. The Astros won the World Series, Mike Fiers blew the whistle a couple of years later. And, MLB said, "we can't have a cheater winning our greatest prize and being etched in history."
I want to make this very clear. I'm not saying what the Astros (or Barry Bonds for that matter) did was right. But, what I am saying is that they were both unfairly made the scapegoat of problems that were league wide for decades. We're even seeing it again this year with pitchers and the sticky substances they use on baseballs to get a better grip. It's just the latest example of a league wide problem that, only now, the league decides to act on. I have no problem with Altuve, Correa, Brantley or Pressly missing the All-Star Game. Absolutely none. They should be mad as hell. The Red Sox did the exact same thing with sign stealing one year later because then Astros bench coach Alex Cora became the manager for the 2018 Red Sox, and he helped them to go on to win the whole thing. They did the exact same thing, won the same title, and basically got a slap on the wrist. No one boos the Sox when they go into opposing stadiums. No one outside of Houston calls them cheaters. No one has ridiculed them. So how is it fair that the Astros have to take the brunt of everything while other teams who did the exact same thing just go on their way? It's not.
Anyone on twitter who is saying, "They're all skipping the All-Star Game because they don't want to look their peers in the eye.", stop it. That is the laziest of takes in all honesty. First off, those peers vote the reserves (which all of the Astros in the All-Star Game were) into the game. Those peers that you national media think obsess over their hatred of the Astros, yeah, those guys saw that they were having a good season and decided to get them into the game.
I've only been in Houston for a little over 7 months and I have quickly realized, these players, they don't give a damn about your thoughts. They don't give a damn about your booing. They don't give a damn about the opinions of the "experts". They. Don't. Care. They just collect hits, mash homers, pitch well, and win ball games. Fans waste their breath booing them only for those boos to turn to tears and whines because the Astros came in and kicked their team's ass. And, they will continue to do so. They're just that good. Good enough to destroy your team (my Angels included). Good enough to give Rob Manfred and the league the finger. Good enough to win the World Series.
To borrow a line from current Yankees Manger Aaron Boone, "[These] guys are f***ing savages."