This entire Houston Astros cheating scandal that has played out over the last four months deserves a full-length movie made about it. From the discovery of the scandal, the development of the scheme, the firing of not one but three different managers on three different teams amidst the fallout, to the cover-up perpetrated by disgraced Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, this has all been a real-life soap opera playing out in front of our very eyes.
In the most recent installation of “The Young and the Restless Trashcans”, the PR nightmare that is unfolding at Astros spring training has taken center stage and wow is it falling apart quick. Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, two players that were particularly blase about the entire situation back in December, finally had to face the music and own up to what they did in front of the nation. How did they do? Not great.
"I'm really sorry about the choices that were made by my team, by the organization, and by me." – Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve speak about the Astros cheating scandal pic.twitter.com/al5dtaHtEg
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) February 13, 2020
The two of them might as well have walked up to the podium and said, ‘Hey, we have to say we’re sorry but we aren’t so whatever’, and left. Astros Owner Jim Crane tried his best to steal the spotlight of incompetence from the two all-stars by claiming that the system to relay pitches in real-time “Didn’t impact the game”, then immediately contradicted himself moments later in his own press conference.
Astros owner Jim Crane on the Astros' cheating scandal: "Our opinion is that this didn't impact the game."
Crane when asked again later in the news conference: "I didn't say it didn't impact the game." pic.twitter.com/An3ex7zbWV
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 13, 2020
You might be reading about and watching this whole Astros dumpster fire take place and get some sense of morbid satisfaction from it, but deep down you know the big fish has yet to truly weigh in. You and I are both wondering:
Where. Is. Justin Verlander?
Ah yes, Old Uncle Justin. The 2019 Cy Young runner-up has built a reputation in recent years for being baseball’s social justice warrior. He was Trevor Bauer before Trevor Bauer was cool. Verlander was very critical of Astros management after the team traded for known domestic abuser Roberto Osuna in 2018 (understandable). Verlander has also not been afraid to take shots directly at MLB and Rob Manfred, most famously throwing a public hissy fit before the 2019 All-Star game when the right-hander called game balls “A fucking joke”, and directly blaming Rob Manfred for implementing juiced baseball in order to create more offense. This also just so happened to come out during a season in which Verlander would give up the most home runs in his career. Was JV onto something or was he just acting like a hormonal teenager who thinks the world is out to get him? Who’s to say (likely the ladder)?
But what does Justin Verlander, a man of great integrity, think about players cheating in baseball? Well, luckily for us, Verlander made his thoughts very clear about the evil act of stealing signs in an interview back in 2017 with MLive’s Evan Woodbery. Verlander said the following,
“It’s not about gamesmanship anymore,” he said. “It used to be, ‘Hey, if you can get my signs, good for you.’ In the past, if a guy on second (base) was able to decipher it on a few pitches, I guess that was kind of part of the game. I think it’s a different level now. It’s not good.”
So, just that we’re all clear, Justin Verlander told us loud and clear back in 2017 that sign-stealing being taken to a different level is bad. We all got it? Good. Well, apparently Verlander forgot his morals just a few months after that interview took place, because he seemed to have zero things say about the unprecedented cheating plot that was going on when he joined the Astros in August of that same year. Did Verlander choose to overlook the whole situation so he could capture his first-ever World Series title? I guess we may never know (Of course he did).
So that brings us to today. After months of burying his head in the sand like the world’s most blissfully unaware Ostrich (while potentially defending himself with a burner account at the same time), Verlander came out recently and said that he wished he had said more to stop the Astros cheating system when he first arrived in Houston, which may be the biggest crock of shit that I have ever heard in my life. Verlander didn’t see any problem with calling out Roberto Osuna for being a piece of shit, and that was before he was even in the clubhouse. I don’t care if he was new to the team, Justin Verlander has more say than anybody on that team. He could’ve easily stopped all this shit as soon as he touched down in Houston, but instead chose to sit on his hands and let it happen.
But what really puts Verlander over-the-top in terms of ass-hattery, above Bregman, above Altuve, even above Jim Crane, were his comments about the impending retaliation coming for the Astros.
Justin Verlander: “I think the commissioner has made it clear that a baseball thrown at a player is not an appropriate form of retribution.” https://t.co/Chj2kjg3km
— L.A. Times Sports (@latimessports) February 14, 2020
This is absolutely pathetic. I get it, you want to have your teammates’ backs and would prefer that they don’t get 95 MPH fastball thrown at them, that’s understandable. But to try and weasel your way into a discussion and then pull the, “But the commissioner wouldn’t like that” card and run away like your some teacher’s pet dork is absolutely disgusting. Didn’t Verlander go on a rant about how much Rob Manfred sucks LITERALLY 7 months ago? How can you try to remind everyone about his rules and how they should be adhered to when you, Justin Verlander, very publically shit all over the commissioner’s credibility? But the absolute worst part of all of this was when Verlander later tried to remind everyone that he and Jose Altuve have children and that their health is important to keep in mind. Get the fuck out of here, dude. Do you genuinely think that saying you’ve got a family is going to save you or your teammates from Mike Clevinger and Andrew Heaney? This is baseball. Guy’s have been catching balls in the numbers for literally 150 years. If you don’t want to go home and have tell your kids about the bruises on your ribs, maybe don’t be a fucking asshole and ruin the game of baseball. Just a thought. I hope and pray that some batter has the guts to drop a bunt down the first baseline and demolishes Justin Verlander as he attempts to field it (See the clip below for an example). See if that’ll wake up that integrity that’s rattling around in his asshole.
I woke up at 6 AM this morning with a vision… I hope you all enjoy pic.twitter.com/VEOthR56RT
— Ben Porter (@Ben13Porter) January 23, 2020
Justin Verlander is the WORST type of person; He inserts himself in issues that don’t need addressing, he’s obnoxiously loud when he does, and then turtles up when the heat gets turned up.
Fuck Justin Verlander. And while we’re at it, here’s a parting gift for you.
— Faux Sports Ohio (@FauxSportsOhio) September 13, 2015
Photo via Karen Warren