Bernstein: Astros Victims Of Their Own Hubris

"The Astros are at the forefront ... in dehumanizing people," Cody Decker says.

Dan Bernstein
January 14, 2020 - 1:39 pm
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(670 The Score) It's easier to get away with high-tech cheating if people don't hate you. That seems to be a clear takeaway from the first phase of the latest Astros scandal, the one that just got the general manager and manager suspended and then summarily fired.

Read what the MLB report itself says, for starters.

"It is very clear to me that the culture of the baseball operations department, manifesting itself in the way its employees are treated, its relations with other clubs and its relations with the media and external stakeholders, has been very problematic,"  commissioner Rob Manfred wrote. "At least in my view, the baseball operations department's insular culture – one that valued and rewarded results over other considerations, combined with a staff of individuals who often lacked direction or sufficient oversight, led, at least in part, to the Brandon Taubman incident, the club's admittedly inappropriate and inaccurate response to that incident and finally to an environment that allowed the conduct described in this report to have occurred."

That sweeping smackdown of the monster created by general manager Jeff Luhnow sounds far kinder than similar criticism that we've heard from rival executives and other baseball insiders, who for years have been muttering about how the Astros do business. The fact that so many people despise them may have made them a more likely target.

Former big league first baseman Cody Decker is now a host on Radio.com Sports, and he joined the Bernstein and McKnight Show on 670 The Score on Tuesday. Decker alleged in no uncertain terms that the Astros are one of many franchises engaged in some kind of systemic illegality.

"This is a bad, bad scandal that has a far-reaching effect throughout major league baseball," Decker said. "Because if you think this is just the Astros and the Red Sox, you're lying to yourself. I know for sure there are five teams."

Decker specifically called out Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger for saying, "I'm proud that we did it right." 

"Mmm ... Cody, you might not want to do that," Decker warned.

So it's not surprising that Decker went on to mention the Dodgers as a pointed comparison to their counterparts in Houston, explaining why justice is served for some and not others.

"Here's the difference between the Dodgers and the Astros -- the Dodgers are a front office and coaching staff and players that are pretty well-respected and well-liked," Decker said. "Everyone actually likes the Dodgers. They are friends with them. So it's kind of a blind eye being turned to certain teams because they're not a-holes, they're good people. The Astros are at the forefront of any organization ever in dehumanizing people. They are truly awful people. So everyone is really not shedding a tear."

But now Manfred has set precedent, and he's currently conducting an investigation in Boston that some speculate could conclude with a multi-year ban of manager Alex Cora. There will be more players granted immunity to tell the truth about the practices of other clubs, and the evidence will be followed. The good reputation and allies around the game that the Astros lacked may at least be buying some teams time to clean up the scene and get stories straight enough for Manfred to not want to do more digging than he has to.

As Decker put it, "I think everyone is burning the tapes as quickly as they possibly can."

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in midday. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.