After Major League Baseball’s cheating scandal involving the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros, what can we expect to see throughout the league? Nobody knows for sure, says former Baltimore Orioles infielder Bill Ripken.
Ripken, a 12-year veteran and now an analyst for MLB Network, shared his thoughts on how the league should operate in the aftermath of this scandal.
“I’m not mad at Rob Manfred,” Ripken said on Glenn Clark Radio Feb. 20. “When he sent out the directive to all clubs in 2017, he basically said if something like this is going to go on, the manager and general manager are going to wear it.”
And that’s exactly what happened with the Astros. After a $5 million fine and forfeiture of multiple draft picks, general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch were suspended by the league and fired by the team shortly after.
Manfred, the commissioner of MLB, didn’t punish players — something that left players with other organizations confused. On Feb. 18, Manfred said the MLB Players Association had originally balked at suspending players, while the MLBPA shot back a day later and said the league had ensured the union prior to its investigation into the Astros that no players would be suspended.
“I’m not sure that they necessarily understand the fact that the players’ association or the union represents all players,” he said.
Ripken believes that Manfred held back on suspending players because it wouldn’t be pretty for baseball, saying “… the commissioner’s job is probably one of the hardest jobs in all of sports right now, and I think he handled this pretty well moving forward so far.”
Opting against disciplining players involved in the scandal could lead to pitchers dealing with the problem themselves, according to Ripken, even at the risk of being suspended.
“I could understand why somebody might stand 60 feet, 6 inches away and somebody might put a bruise on somebody,” he said.
While dealing with those involved in the cheating is a main concern of the league, Ripken has some ideas he believes would improve the game in general.
“Let’s get rid of the instant replay room down there. I’d like to put a fifth guy up in the booth if you will. … I want it to be a former player,” Ripken said — a response to the Astros’ improper use of their replay room and video monitor during the team’s 2017 postseason run while also speeding up the replay process.
This comes as no surprise, as Ripken has long debated new and old baseball tactics. Those come together in his new book, “State of Play: The Old School Guide to New School Baseball.”
The book sheds light on different stats and kinds of analysis in the game, bringing Ripken’s old-school philosophies into today’s game of baseball.
“Both sides have got to trust the other side on [the idea that] they may know something that the other one doesn’t,” Ripken said.
“Us crusty old-school baseball people have always used numbers and information, and when I do discuss, debunk or however you want to talk about some of these new terms and some of these new thought processes, I use numbers and information while I do it,” Ripken added.
For more from Ripken, listen to the full interview here:
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