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Why Major League Baseball must crush the St Louis Cardinals for their sins

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A Cardinals employee is delivered to prison following a sentence for hacking the Houston Astros database: now his employers must pay

Last June, devout St Louis Cardinals fan Nicole Vartanian was digesting stunning charges: that a member of the teams own front office had hacked the Houston Astros.

An allegation of this magnitude is a punch to the gut, said Vartanian at the time. Right now Cardinal nation woke up with a collective cavity in our belly. Were hoping its a mild bout of nausea that will be resolved rapidly, but theres also the long-term ramifications: devoting the individuals who roundly derided Cardinal fans a new punchline that doesnt go away.

It wasnt resolved speedily, but it was resolved, at the least for now. More than a year after learning that the FBI was analyse Cardinal employees, Vartanian and a legion of Cards fans are dealing with cold facts: their former scouting director Christopher Correa is heading to prison for 46 months. Thats because Correa was found guilty this week of infiltrating the proprietary database of former Cards executive and current Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow.

Many Cardinal fans like to believe their franchise is above it all, that their organization does things the right way, that they respect their opponents and the game more than others. Thats all done now. Their world has changed. The Cardinal are guilty of infractions so serious that they couldnt even be handled internally, a rarity in the sport.

There is a temptation to blame it all on one bad apple, Correa, who Astros counsel said broke into their servers , not once or twice but more than 60 times. That is a tough sell, even if investigators didnt find enough proof to charge higher up such as Correas former boss, current senior vice president and general manager John Mozeliak.

MLB will now launch their own investigation, and the league wont be limited by standards of the judicial system.

Principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr said in a statement: As we did with the governmental forces during its investigation, we intend to fully cooperate with the commissioners office in connection with its investigation so that this matter is to be able to be resolved. Pending the outcome of the commissioners investigation, we will have no farther comment.

Even if MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred doesnt turn up enough evidence to take action against other Cardinal officials, the league must crush the Cards for their sins, because baseball is starting to look like it has a crime problem.

Just a few weeks ago reports surfacedthat the Boston Red Sox were circumventing international signing rules in Venezuela by raising player signing bonuses through a series of winks , nods and maybe even some bags of cash. The reported penalty for these infractions was impressive: all of the teens were released from their are dealing here with Boston, became free agent and were allowed to keep the bonuses. The Red Sox may not sign an international player until 2 July 2017. According to the Boston Globe, its the first time MLB have taken players away from a squad.

Punishing franchises is never easy for individual commissioners: after all, Manfred works at the behest of the 30 owneds. But Manfred passed the test, perhaps empowered by a clause that dedicates him the authority to act in the best interests of baseball.

Now Manfred faces another momentous decision.

The Astros must be made whole, perhaps by selecting one or two players from a pool of five on the Cardinals 40 -man roster. Then St Louis need to feel further, long term organizational pain, such as losing a season of first- and second-round draft pickings along with a one-year prohibition on international signings. Sound harsh? Perhaps, but a team official is in prison for hacking into the information hub of another franchise. A mild penalty here would send the wrong message to the other 29 clubs, and most crucially, would put the overall legitimacy of the game at stake: hazards MLB cant afford to take.

Video of the week

This is an easy one: from the land of the big bat flip comes the KBO Bunt King competition at the South Korean All-Star Game.

Dan (@ MyKBO) July 16, 2016

KBO All-Star Festivities: Doosan’s Heo Kyung-min is your 2016 KBO Bunt King! pic.twitter.com/ 7yx0Bvazfk

Quote of the Week:

In hindsight, maybe the two fringe prospects and trying to figure out where to reallocate the money might have been a better return. Thats where research results take us.

Thats Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington saying hed have been better taking a container of popcorn and a pack of chewing gum from the Mets in return for successful second baseman Neil Walker during an offseason bargain. Instead he took starting pitcher Jon Niese, who is currently enduring the worst season of his career after being relegated to bullpen mop-up duty.

Whos closer to victory: Donald Trump or the Cubs?

The Cubs announced the first of four schemed premier clubs this week. The 1908 1914 Club will offer unique experiences such as eating and drinking in an underground room behind home plate, with a guaranteed option of watching the game on television. On the field Chicago are still opposing to find the high gear that stoked their white-hot start to the season. Two good signs: after a few bumpy jaunts Jake Arrieta was dominant against the New York on Tuesday, as was the fighting Jon Lester on Monday. The Cubs have taken series from the Satisfies and Rangers since play resumed after the All-Star break.

Of course, the Cubbies are no match for Le Grande Orange, at the least the coming week. The Donald watched Never Trump adversaries swatted away at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on day one, before officially becoming the Republican nominee on day 2. Not even eating sushi in a Wrigley Field basement can top that.

How did the kids piss off Goose Gossage this week?

What on globe would Goose Gossage, who once intentionally beaned a batter for taking too long to get back into the box, think of benches clearing to form a spontaneous dance-off? Thats exactly what happened at the annual Halifax Pride Festivals Dykes v Divas softball game in Nova Scotia on Saturday. Goose has been tight-lipped on the impromptu boogie, which presumably broke many, if not all, of the unwritten rules in mere minutes, as you are able to plainly see in the video below.

What would Goose say to this?

Nine thoughts in order

1) Come to think of it, what would Goose think of the cat and mouse game between Pikachu and the Phillie Phanatic? You dont have to answer that…

Is this a sign of the apocalypse?

2) More severely, alarm bell are ringing in Los Angeles with Clayton Kershaw suffering a setback in his return from lower back issues. The Dodger have managed to play exceptionally well without a player who is responsible for 20.75% of their wins, posting a 12 -6 record since his last start. Now that Hyun-Jin Ryu is back on the DL along with Alex Wood and Brett Anderson, their rotation is barely formidable. What should they do about it? Likely nothing. The Dodger are living the dream of vying while they effectively transition their roster and theres no reason to hazard even a portion of their future on a squad that could lose Clayton Kershaw to season ending surgery.

LA shouldnt deal Yasiel Puig either. The enigmatic Cuban has hit well since jumping back up the DL and has been solid defensively all season. He also sells tickets and is a heck of a lot of fun. Jay Bruce is just one of the outfielders rumored to be perhaps dealt for the 25 -year-old: the Reds right fielder is not going to build certain differences in the Dodgers outfield, has less of an upside, and has never worn spikes with Vin Scully on them.

John Bleednblue (@ BleednblueJohn) July 17, 2016

Gotta have Puig’s Shoes !!!! #WinForVin2016 pic.twitter.com/ X38IOYmuOE

3) The 2016 Marlins were supposed to be about watching Giancarlo Stanton crush moonshots, Jose Fernandez mow down lineups and witnessing history as Ichiro Suzuki knocks his 3,000 th hit. But Don Mattingly has manage to squeeze more from his oranges than expected: the team which finished 20 games under. 500 a season ago is abruptly constructing momentum and impacting the NL playoff race.

The Marlins are on a an excellent run of sort and currently occupy the fifth NL playoff spot with the Mets coming to township for a key series this weekend. But to keep hanging around theyll need another starter. The Miami Herald reports that the team has been linked to Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Rich Hill, Michael Pineda, Jake Odorizzi, Chris Archer, Andrew Cashner in addition to other starters. Its also been reported that owned Jeffrey Loria is said to be deep involved in trade discussions, which should scare the life out of any remaining Marlins fans.

Meanwhile, Ichiro is closing on 3,000, which entails the big moment could happen this weekend. Lets see if any Marlins fans, last in NL attendance, show up to see it.

4) The Yankees are finally, reportedly, entertaining offers for Aroldis Chapman. However, just as weve insured for most of the season, just when New York seem set to raise the white flag they go on a short winning streak. This time theyve taken a series against the first place Baltimore Orioles to close the gap in the AL East and in the wild card race. That doesnt change the fact that theyre not better than the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Astros, Royals and Tigers, all who are in front of them at the moment. Theres a power-struggle in the front office between those who want to stick and those who want to sell and try to land their crown jewel: Kyle Schwarber, even if the Cubs insist they wont trade the slugger. These 10 days will decide who attains the call.

5) The Astros could use help in their starting rotation and their bullpen, but perhaps they should be shopping for a new leading television announcer. Former Astros catcher and current play-by-play broadcaster Alan Ashby had a bizarre chat with Root Sports sideline reporter Julia Morales on Tuesday.

Rich Mayor (@ CityHall0 3) July 19, 2016

This. This is really, really weird … pic.twitter.com/ o94HxHNsem

Following a report from Morales, the 65 -year-old said: Thanks Julia. By the way, did you guys notice how blue Julias eyes looked right there?

An awkward silence ensued, with you guys knowing better than to answer the question. Ashby didnt pick up the cue and continued. Go on Julia, flash them again.

It was ugly, and it follows another incident back in 2013. With Texas Yu Darvish walking off the mound after virtually completing a perfect game, Ashby said it should force a guy to learn some of the language here in America.

Ashby apologized a day afterwards, but should face harsher penalties this time around.

6) For years fans have been taught that knuckleballs from the likes of an RA Dickey or a Tim Wakefield or even a Hoyt Wilhelm were research results of airflow over the seams of a baseball that prevented from spinning. Now a new analyse out of France and published in New Journal of Physics suggests that may not be the case at all. Rather, sudden changes in the drag force-out on a ball, called a drag crisis cause the unpredictable zig-zag impact we also see in football, volleyball and cricket. The Science News violates it down, reporting that in drag crisis, the thin layer of air surrounding the ballflips between turbulent and smooth flow, abruptly changing the drag forces on the ball. If the transition passes asymmetrically, it can move the ball to one side. No news yet if the French scientists at cole Polytechnique will tackle the optical illusion of a a curveball next.

7) With fret of impending Tommy John surgery doom surrounding baseballs young pitchers, a 105 mph pitch from a Boston Red Sox prospect last week must have been met with a combination of horror and great exhilaration. Michael Kopech has had a mixed start to his career, transgressing his hand in a tangle with his roommate last spring and also serving a 50 -game suspension for a banned stimulant. Now hes chalked up a three-digit handgun read of 105mph, simply a tick short of Aroldis Chapmans record of 105. 1mph. Kopech is currently pitching in the the Class A Carolina League, is only 20 and is still growing into his 6ft 3in frame, prompting pitching coach Paul Abbott to call him the most impressive guy Ive ensure since Ive been here and maybe ever. Its impressive, but how much strain can a young limb take and how long will it be until his arm finds its way into a catchers mitt?

8) The Braves insist they wont bargain Julio Teheran, the Colombian starter in the midst of a breakout season. Atlanta had said that their rebuild, which includes their stunning acquisition of Darby Swanson for Shelby Miller, is about vying in their new ballpark next April. As it happens, that scheme has turned out to be a quite ambitious. However, if they already have a stocked system, then why deal away the best 3-8 pitcher baseball has ever seen, especially when hes controllable for three more seasons? Teheran could anchor a team ready to take off in 2018, and since theyre flush with prospects, theres no reason to make that move this or next July.

9) And finally, pining to watch Roger Clemens pitch again? This is your lucky summertime. The 53 -year-old will perform in the upcoming National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kansas, a tournament usually reserved for college-aged players. Kansas native Adam LaRoche, who walked away from a lucrative contract with the Chicago White Sox this spring, helped coordinate the event that includes a hopefully less angry Carl Everett, in addition to a roster chocked with 11 former All-Stars including Tim Hudson, Jason Isringhausen, Roy Oswalt and Brad Penny. Josh Beckett, who will also seem, has graciously agreed to bring the beer, biscuits and fried chicken to the clubhouse.

Click here for the Major League Baseball standings

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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