Tiki: Rob Manfred Got Played; Players Will Self-Police

If the commissioner won't punish Astros players, opposing teams will, Tiki Barber says

Tiki and Tierney
February 18, 2020 - 9:22 am

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred did not punish Astros players for their involvement in a sign-stealing scheme. He doesn’t want opposing teams to punish Astros payers, either.

Manfred will reportedly send a memo to teams this week warning against intentionally throwing at Astros hitters this season. If pitchers intentionally plunk Astros, Manfred will “increase the ramifications of that type of behavior.”

There are, however, several problems with that statement.

“How in the world can Rob Manfred police this with any sort of accuracy?” Brandon Tierney asked on Tiki & Tierney. “It’s a pipe dream. He can’t.”

Tiki Barber agrees.

“There’s an excuse for missing spots,” Barber said. “How do you know? Anytime a Houston Astro gets hit now, you’re going to say, ‘You’re going to be penalized worse than they got penalized for cheating and stealing a World Series.’ Seriously? It’s really hard to think about how mad the players are going to be if they get penalized for self-policing the Astros because it’s going to happen. It can’t not happen. So they’re going to get harsher penalties than the Astros did.”

Manfred, of course, gave the players immunity in exchange for information about the sign-stealing scheme. 

“You cut a deal with the players and you get the guy at the top,” Barber said, referring to former manager A.J. Hinch and former general manager Jeff Luhnow. “The problem in this situation is the guy at the top wasn’t actually responsible for what was going on. It was more the players – and they were the ones executing the wrong on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis. They were the ones that were doing it. If anything, the commissioner’s report kind of exonerated A.J. Hinch in a lot of ways. 

“Now, it was still his fault,” Barber continued. “As the leader, he should have squashed it immediately. He allowed it to happen. But it was the players who were actually doing it. It’s like [Manfred] got played by the players to take action against the skip and the general manager when they were the ones that were actually doing more wrong than anything.”