News broke last night that former Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch was expected to become the next skipper of the Detroit Tigers.
In case you’ve been living in a trash can for the past 12 months (pun definitely intended), Hinch was fired and suspended from his managerial job with the Houston Astros due to an elaborate, multi-year cheating scandal that involved cameras, buzzers, and banging on trash cans when a breaking ball was coming.
Baseball purists saw this as the most heinous and disgusting act in history (most Tigers fans on twitter today don’t seem to mind though). They were calling for lifetime bans for all of those involved, including Hinch.
Instead, the weakling commissioner, Rob Manfred, handed out a one year ban for Hinch and former Astro assistant coach and Red Sox manager Alex Cora.
With Ron Gardenhire forced to retire from managing the Tigers near the end of the season due to health reasons, Detroit was forced to search for a new manager. They interviewed many candidates, but the instant that Hinch’s suspension was lifted after the World Series, the Tigers brought him in for an interview and are reportedly finalizing a deal to have him lead the team.
He was their guy all along.
The Tigers are expected to take some PR backlash for this move (though I haven’t seen any yet) due to his involvement in winning a World Series through cheating. Tigers General Manager Al Avila is certainly aware of this, and doesn’t seem to mind a few critical interviews from the media if it means he has a manager that can help his team win.
The Tigers are on the hopeful upswing of a rebuild. With a lot of young, highly drafted talent ready to make it to the big leagues, Hinch is the perfect guy to help these youngsters reach their full potential as he did with the young Astros.
As a Tigers fan, does it bother me that they are hiring a man that will always have the cheater label on him?
If he wins, no, I won’t have a problem with it. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been caught breaking the rules and have won six Super Bowls. Does this bother Patriot fans? Absolutely not.
If the Tigers cheated to win a World Series would I be bothered? Probably not.
The parade would still happen. The celebration would be real. The joy and elation would be a great feeling. If it came out a few years later that it was tainted would it bother me? Again, probably not. The memory is still there.
Baseball has a long history of cheating players and the handing out of theoretical asterisks.
This isn’t true, however, in the baseball record books.
Show me the Astros’ asterisk.
Show me Barry Bond’s asterisk.
Show my Pete Rose’s asterisk.
I don’t see them.
Not that this is right, but baseball doesn’t police this, the writers do. If baseball wants to eliminate things like this, they need a commissioner with a set of stones that isn’t afraid to lay the hammer down.
Now I don’t think the Tigers would cheat, why would Hinch do something like that twice?
I do think he will help develop the young players on the team and I think that is all the Tigers are looking for. They are willing to look past someones questionable history if it means a better on field product.