An open letter to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred

Urging Manfred to rethink handling of Astros scandal

Mike 'Chico' Bormann
October 18, 2018 - 8:44 pm
Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

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Dear Mr. Manfred,

I realize you're very busy right now. As I write this, you may be finalizing your World Series umpiring crew to include Angel Hernandez, Joe West, C.B. Bucknor, and Laz Diaz. Or perhaps you've had another brainstorm after watching Game 3 of the NLCS  go four extra frames and into the wee hours of Wednesday morning on the East Coast. Am I right? Maybe put the runner on 3rd base instead of 2nd when you get to the 10th inning, thus making a sacrifice fly enough to score the winning run and put it to bed before it gets out of hand?

Oh, and speaking of putting things to bed before they get out of hand, is that what you're attempting to do with this Astros' cheating scandal? You don't really believe that by saying the investigation is complete and Houston has been found of no wrong-doing, that these serious allegations of cheating levied against the defending champs will just disappear, do you? If so, you are much more ignorant or naive than I ever thought possible.

Or worse yet, perhaps you believe your fans are naive, or even oblivious to what's going on? That can't be. It says in your bio you hold degrees from both Cornell and Harvard, so you are much smarter than that, right? Right?

The statement from Major League Baseball released yesterday reads in part, "A thorough investigation concluded that an Astros employee was monitoring the field to ensure that the opposing club was not violating any rules."

Come on, Rob.

Your statement confirms that this employee, Kyle McLaughlin, was simply monitoring the other team's dugout to ensure THEY were not stealing signs. What about the Astros? How did Mr. McLaughlin get credentialed to be in the photographer's pit to begin with? Better yet, how did he get away with this not once, but twice in the postseason? In the same week? The Cleveland Indians were warned by other clubs to be on high alert for this activity before the ALDS and there he was in Game 3. The Indians gave you the information, which may have included video and photographic evidence, and you supposedly warned Kyle not to do it again. Apparently, you weren't stern enough with your warning. Or maybe Kyle and the Astros knew you didn't take allegations of cheating very seriously anyway, because he showed up to Fenway Park for Game 1 of the ALCS and pulled the exact same stunt! So, he essentially mocked your authority and dismissed your wishes and you punish him and the team by politely asking him not to do it a third time? We used to love substitute teachers like you when I was in school.

You make it clear to teams that they must be transparent  when it comes to their financial records and where they are spending income such as revenue sharing. Where is your transparency when it comes to this "thorough" investigation you claim to have taken place? How thorough could it have been if it's already complete? I've seen replay reviews take longer than this. I would understand if you want to pause the investigation until the postseason is over, but to just wipe your hands of it as if to say, "Nothing to see here. Move along?"

You may remember a scandal involving PED's back in the late 90's that cast a dark cloud over baseball for quite some time. Then, like now, the Commissioner tried to sweep it under the rug and pretend it wasn't going on. You know how that played out. Don't go down the same road with this cheating fiasco. Everybody involved knows this isn't simply monitoring other clubs to ensure a level playing field.

A wise listener of mine tweeted this to my show last night: "Going by Rob Manfred's logic, I could enter a bank with a gun and a ski mask and if security stops me, I'll just tell them I'm not robbing this place, I'm just making sure no one else does."

That's how slippery the slope will be if you intend on sweeping this under the rug. Think about it, Rob. Front offices have been making you aware of this for quite some time. Fans are questioning your integrity, and that of the game. Don't just shrug your shoulders like Mr. Selig did when an All-Star game ended in a tie. Better yet, don't insult the intelligence of your paying customers.

Regards,

Chico