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Houston Astros: You reap what you sow.

MLB: Winter Meetings Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

For their cheating the Astros got what they deserved. The consequences are grave, both in the short and long term. But you reap what you sow.

In the long term the loss of four top draft picks, and the dismissal of the genius, Jeff Luhnow, myopic as he may be, will hurt the team for a decade. Gone is the man who revolutionized baseball science, and brought the laughing stock of baseball to the pinnacle of success. GMs this good aren’t hanging around on street corners.

In the short term, I don’t see how this doesn’t sap the spirit and enthusiasm of the players in the coming season, just as the Brandon Taubman fiasco seemed to enervate the team during the World Series.

Forever the Astros will wear the Scarlet C, and I don’t see how that doesn’t affect the mindset of this present group of players. A little like how a marriage never fully recovers when one spouse discovers the adultery of the other.

As someone who has loved the Astros and written passionately about them, not just as players, but as people with high character who had overcome, each in his own way, unusual obstacles, to discover that they have stooped to cheating... well, my heart is broken. My Davids have become wicked Goliaths.

It seems, going by the commissioner’s report, that Alex Cora and perhaps Carlos Beltran bear the main culpability. But the weakness displayed by A.J. Hinch in not stopping it shows equal parts impotence and stupidity, both in monumental proportions.

Jeff Luhnow, given direction by the league and the team owner to ensure this didn’t happen, rather ignored this issue and allowed it to fester, showing misplaced moral priorities. How could he be so blind? I agree with the commissioner that there was sickness in the front office culture that allowed this and the Taubman thing to fester. Turns out that Luhnow was a high tech version of Al Davis. “Just win baby.”

I guess the Nerd Cave didn’t have a statistical printout for how this kind of situation might affect wins above replacement.

And let’s not forget the players, not one of whom, it seems, showed the courage to say, “this is wrong.”

And if so, is this not symptomatic of a society that tends to view right and wrong as fluid and changeable, subject to one’s self-interest? “Everything’s relative dude, it’s all a social construct.”

No, it was wrong. Other teams are doing it, maybe, is no excuse.

I really thought these guys were better than this. Stupid me.

Yes, other teams are doing it, and Alex Cora, at least, deserves the same punishment. But that doesn’t assuage my pain that these lovable underdogs stooped so low.

Altuve? Really? The little kid “midget”* who came back to the tryout and said “give me another chance coach, please?”

Springer? The boy who overcame stuttering and dedicates himself to helping other kids like him? You’re better than this.

Correa, who as a child worked so hard at baseball despite desperate poverty that he fielded grounders near tree roots until his face was black and blue?

Even Bregman, who got to #2 in MVP voting entirely by dint of an almost pathological work ethic?

They all fell in with this hare-brained stunt. Didn’t someone have the guts to say, just once, “what are we doing? Why are we banging on garbage cans during a baseball game?”

My mother used to say, “if everyone else jumps off a cliff, are you going to jump too?

Apparently so. The Astros just hit rock bottom.

Does this mean I will not root for the Astros next season?

I’m 62 years old and I have done my fair share of stupid things. But I have always tried to learn from those mistakes. Maybe from this humiliation the players will return to their humble roots. Yes, I really do believe everyone involved will learn and grow from this. I expect sincere contrition in the coming days, and if it is so, I will forgive them, as I have often needed forgiveness myself.

Go Stros

*Altuve was derisively nicknamed el enano, the midget, when he played in Venezuela.