Recently, I spent an entire weekend watching the NBA All Star events. It’s always fun to see rival players hanging out and working together. For the most part, the NBA All Stars have a mutual respect for each other. They’re not all best friends, but they respect what each other does and they show that.
Baseball is no different. Except in 2020.
In 2020, the Houston Astros are villains. I don’t mean villains in the sense that the Yankees have always been – ohhh the big bad empire signed a huge free agent, they spend more than anyone, let’s boo them, we don’t like them because they have 27 World Series title, let’s boo them because them have more money than us – no, this is a different type of villain. This isn’t jealousy, this isn’t respect, this is HATE.
The Houston Astros cheated the game of baseball. What they did is worse than steroids, worse than Pete Rose. They legitimately cheated in a way that severely impacted the games and, perhaps, ultimately, influenced their 2017 World Series Championship (I mean, come on. Can’t prove it one way or another, but it did).
The NBA events got me thinking about MLB All Star week in July, and how awkward and uncomfortable it might be given the location (Los Angeles) and the likely presence of several Astros.
I picture all the players hanging on the field during the Home Run Derby on Monday night. Like always, you’ll have Yankees and Red Sox sit together and share a conversation. You’ll have mutual respect moments from the Dodgers and Nationals players as they embrace. And then you’ll have the Astros…probably sitting in the corner alone, awkwardly.
Think about the things that have been said by guys on the Yankees, by Cody Bellinger, Kris Bryant, Nationals manager Davey Martinez, just to name a very few. Cody Bellinger’s Dodgers are hosting the 2020 All Star Game. You think the Dodgers and those fans are going to forgive and forget? NO WAY!
Here’s my idea for how to handle the Astros at the All Star Game itself.
Don’t do anything. But yet, do less than nothing.
I would tell pitchers to intentionally walk them and do it in a way where the pitcher simply points to first base. To me, that’s the ultimate lack of disrespect. Don’t give them any opportunity to make a statement or have their big moment. Simply put them on first base, and move on with the game.
Throwing a pitch inside or attempting to actually hit them, while maybe funny, actually shows that you are still angry and that you hate them. And yes, while that is obviously true, I think it’s better to show that players can be angry and hateful without being resentful. If Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa each got 2 at-bats and were walked both teams, it would be like they never existed in the box score.
Don’t disrespect the All Star Game by trying to hit them. Don’t show your anger by retaliating against them. I would show who the bigger and better men are by just completely ignoring them and moving on.