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Orioles GM Mike Elias and Manager Brandon Hyde at Orioles FanFest 2019 nearly one year ago at the Baltimore Convention Center.
Orioles GM Mike Elias and Manager Brandon Hyde at Orioles FanFest 2019 nearly one year ago at the Baltimore Convention Center. (Ulysses Muñoz/Baltimore Sun)

Recently, Major League Baseball penalized the Houston Astros with a loss of draft picks and with fines, and by banning two senior executives for a year as punishment for cheating during the team’s World Series season in 2017 (“No mention of Mike Elias, other Orioles employees formerly with Astros in MLB report on sign-stealing scandal,” Jan. 13). This renders all the success the Astros had that year as permanently tainted. Many in the Astros’ organization landed high-paying jobs with other clubs based not only on the success the team had, but also on the process, which included an emphasis on analytics and strategic losing for years to build the farm system.

In fact, important hiring decisions for the Orioles were predicated on the success of a team that cheated to win the World Series. It does not mean Orioles General Manager Mike Elias, who worked for Houston during the 2017 season, knew about the cheating. But it does mean the well is tainted. The Astros’ success is not what anyone thought it was before this announcement.

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Many fans have been critical of the Orioles management’s decision to lose on purpose in order to win later. It is akin to cheating the fans today so some lucky fans of the future might be grateful. Four or five years of terrible teams with low budgets so the future will be bright. That is the pitch. That pitch just got a little harder to sell now that the Astros’ World Series victory is forever tarnished.

Dudley Thompson

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