Column: Chris Sale Has the Right Mindset Regarding Astros Cheating

If you’ve been following the early stages of Spring Training closely, a lot of focus has been put on questioning the Astros and Dodgers about Houston’s cheating during the 2017 season.

As a result, baseball Twitter has reverted to tweeting out “Cody Bellinger highlight videos” from the 2017 World Series (he slashed .143/.172/.393), tweeting out shirtless pictures of Jose Altuve to prove whether or not he has a tattoo, or if it’s even worth being embarrassed about.

But that’s just the land of trolling that is Twitter. How have the players handled it?

From a Dodgers standpoint, they’ve been rightfully frustrated. Ross Stripling, a right-handed pitcher who was kept after a trade with the Angels fell through, said he’d probably throw at the Astros had the trade went through. Justin Turner said it’s hard to feel like the Astros earned the right to be called champions. Cody Bellinger has been the one ripping them the most, saying Jose Altuve stole the Most Valuable Player Award from Aaron Judge in 2017 and that they stole a ring off their finger.

From a Yankees standpoint, they signed a former Astro in Gerrit Cole this offseason. The 29-year-old feels like he has nothing to apologize for because he “had no idea of any of it going on.” Aaron Boone thinks that Houston’s alleged use of buzzers in 2019 is going to go on as one of the greatest unknowns in baseball history.

As for Houston, it’s been all over the place. Guys like Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa have expressed their apologies for their part in the cheating and not doing anything to stop it. You’ve got Josh Reddick who doesn’t feel he needs to apologize to anybody. Then there’s Dusty Baker, who wasn’t even involved with 2017 Astros, who is requesting that Major League Baseball officials step in and prevent opposing players from retaliating.

That covers all of the main representatives in this scandal. However, the masses are quick to forget that there was another team the Astros beat on their way to claiming the 2017 World Series title: the Boston Red Sox.

It took just four games for the Houston Astros to bury the Red Sox, taking both home games handily before coming from behind to steal Game 4 at Fenway Park. However, it’s with reasonable certainty that Houston didn’t just not cheat in the 2017 American League Division Series.

On Sunday, Red Sox ace Chris Sale, who allowed nine runs and four home runs in 9.2 innings pitched that series, was asked about the 2017 Astros.

He was also asked about the Red Sox ongoing investigation for the 2018 season, which also could have trickled into the 2019 season.

What Sale said in the first tweet is the absolute right mindset to have about this whole thing. The Dodgers and Yankees have every right to feel cheated out of a World Series title in 2017, but the fact they seem to be dwelling on it is going to get them nowhere.

At the end of the day, no amount of complaining and dwelling is going to change the fact that Rob Manfred didn’t dock them of their title. It isn’t going to change the fact that Jose Altuve is still shown as the 2017 AL MVP. It isn’t going to change the fact they cheated. There’s still baseball to be played and glory to be sought after in 2020, and dwelling over something that happened three years ago at this point just isn’t the right way to take care of business.

Sale is coming off a season where he posted career-worsts in earned run average (4.40) and home run per fly ball rate (19.5 percent). He also pitched the fewest innings he ever has as a starter (147.1) and is coming off of his second straight injury-impacted season out of three with the Red Sox.

With 2020 being the first year of a five-year extension worth $150 million, it should be encouraging to Red Sox fans that he is dead-set on the 2020 season and not dwelling over what “could have been” had the playing field been leveled in 2017.

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