Sports

The Yankee Letter Won't Change How the World Feels About the Astros

Jose Altuve didn't need a buzzer or a trash can to light up Aroldis Chapman. Remember?
Jose Altuve didn't need a buzzer or a trash can to light up Aroldis Chapman. Remember? Screenshot
On Tuesday, the much ballyhooed letter between Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees outlining how the Bronx Bombers cheated in 2015 and 2016, and their punishment. Everyone knew it happened and the letter wasn't particularly revelatory. It did provide a bit of a clap back against the Yankee brass, who not only said this would ruin the reputation of the franchise, but do damage to the game.

Because anything that happens in New York is so important, the rest of us will cower in fear when it happens, he said with a massive eye roll.

The only other noteworthy moment during the past months of fussing over whether or not the public would get a peek at this glorified inter-office memo was when GM Brian Cashman decided to climb aboard his high horse and claim that the Astros cheating was what kept the Yankees from winning any World Series titles. The release of this letter, in all honesty, makes him look like a jackass.

Most Yankee fans are still trying to figure out how Cashman hasn't lost his job yet after the many years of failure, so this may have just been a desperate attempt to shift blame. I guess no one every taught him about stones and glass houses.

Yet, after all the drama and the modest fizzle on Tuesday with this not-so-bombshell hit the internet, we find ourselves shrugging and say, "Can we just play ball now?"

Look, the Astros are going to take the worst of it. Writers were scrambling today to explain that, even though it is true the Yanks cheated at least two years before the Astros AND it was widespread enough that the league addressed it with teams, the Astros were still the most egregious culprits in the sign-stealing saga that has made the Astros pariahs around the league, and spun wild conspiracy theories about buzzers and all kins of other nonsense.

The Astros may actually deserve the worst of it. Their cheating does seem the most audacious of the bunch and, frankly, kind of the dumbest in retrospect. They were warned. They did it anyway and in one of the most caveman-esque ways possible — whacking an inanimate metal object.

The only thing good to come out of banging a trash can (it wasn't their batting average considering they were better AWAY from Minute Maid Park in 2017) was the barrage of inflatable garbage bins strewn onto fields around the majors when the Astros came to town. Bravo, creative fans!

And, yeah, it blows that the Yankees and Red Sox were cheating too and will get glossed over by baseball writers and fans because, well, they are the Yankees and Red Sox. But, that, in and of itself, should surprise no one and, as a result, cause little sway in our fandom. Neither should it increase our exasperation towards baseball writ large and its sometimes blatant double standards. We know this is how it is. Nothing will change that.

When someone came up with the T-shirt that said Hate Us with the Astros star H as the first letter, that should have been as far as it needed to go for us. We are Houston sports fans, for God's sake. We've suffered through more sport-related pain and suffering than any city on earth. Did we expect anything less than more misery even in the face of ultimate triumph?

Besides, isn't it enough that we have beaten the Yankees over and over and over again, including AFTER the "cheating scandal?" Those poor New Yorkers have lost so much, their GM has to complain about cheating five years ago to defend it and whine about a letter that might destroy their sterling reputation. How the mighty have fallen.

Listen, next time someone tells you the Astros are cheaters and don't deserve the championship, just laugh and laugh and laugh.

We got the trophy. We got the rings. That's more than enough.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke