Hoping for a Better Baseball Future

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Editor's note: The following is a transcript of Tom Verducci's Point After video atop this page.

Remember when the whole world was angry at the Houston Astros for stealing signs? They wanted them to give back their World Series title, their championship rings, their postseason money.

One day in spring training, I watched the Astros play in a half-empty ballpark against the Marlins on what was senior day, sponsored by a local hospital. Even then, the fans were all over José Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer: profanity, snark, outrage. It seemed to me this was a mini dress rehearsal for what the Astros would face in the regular season.

That gantlet was scheduled to begin on Thursday. First in Oakland against the A’s and whistleblower Mike Fiers. Then in Anaheim against the Angels, where thousands of angry Dodgers fans had bought tickets. By June 3, the sideshow would have gone through Texas, Boston and New York, each place trying to outdo the last in terms of public outrage–or just trying to do something that goes viral.

And then, the pandemic happened.

We have no baseball and no normal way of life, no way of knowing when we’ll have either one again. We’ve been reminded of what’s truly important: our health, our families. And when we do gather again, hopefully we do so with more civility.

You want to boo the Astros? Go ahead. Booing is a sporting tradition. But when it ventures into obscene language or wishing harm, then it’s not about the Astros. It’s about us.

Understand the Astros played were never going to be suspended, not with protection of the CBA. They were not vacating their World Series title, not with no such precedent in the history of baseball. Instead remember the Astros have been penalized in a way that will last forever.

"Glass, China and reputation,” Benjamin Franklin once said, “are easily cracked and never fully mended.”

That day in Jupiter, Fla., I was worried about what I saw and where we were headed. Today, I’m more hopeful. More hopeful we’ll have baseball again and more hopeful that when we do, we’ll return less angry and more thankful.