Are the Astros hypocrites for signing Brett Myers?

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The Astros blog Crawfish boxes raises an interesting question regarding the Astros’ signing of Brett Myers, who as most of you know, has a domestic violence history:

Considering the Astros once designated a player for assignment before
the story of his domestic violence charges even broke, this seems very
hypocritical . . . you can’t have it both ways. The Astros made the decision to deal with
Julio Lugo’s situation by immediately cutting ties with him. A valuable
player, Lugo was let go as the organization made a decision based on
off-the-field behavior. They drew a line at what’s acceptable behavior.
If that’s how they want to run things, I’m fine with it , but you lose
any moral high ground when you sign another guy with an alleged
incident in his past.

In the case of Lugo and Myers I can see a distinction in that Lugo’s thing was happening in real time while Myers’ was some time ago and maybe, just maybe, he’s made some kind of showing of rehabilitation or whatever that Lugo had not yet had a chance to do. And it’s probably worth noting that, though no one ever disputed what happened with Myers and his wife, the charges were dropped.  That aside, I have to be honest and say that I have no idea what I’d do about guys with domestic violence issues if
I ran a baseball team.

On the one hand it’s really easy to say “screw
him, I don’t want him within 100 yards of my clubhouse.”  But if you’re not merely sitting back and casting judgment — say, if you’re running a major league baseball team — you have to make some tough moral judgments about people. About their accusers, if the matter hasn’t been fully resolved by the justice system yet. Hell, about he justice system itself.  Then you have to weigh that against the fact that your mission as a general manager is to win baseball games first and foremost, and that the jobs of many others depend on you carrying out that mission. Then you have to re-weigh that against the fact that, as a professional sports team, you do have some sort of public mandate however vague it may be. People notice what you do, and that matters. It’s the sort of mission for which a baseball front office isn’t really designed, so I’m not at all surprised that there has yet to be a definitive rule book written about this yet.

Personally I wouldn’t invite Brett Myers or Julio Lugo to my house for dinner. Hell, I’m a longtime Braves fan and the most I can muster for Bobby Cox — a guy who was charged with punching his wife the year the Braves won the World Series — is a cold admiration of his abilities while harboring more or less ill feelings for him personally.

But it’s one thing to cast judgment from afar and another thing altogether to run a ballclub. If I had to make a choice right now I’d probably cut Lugo, say no to Myers and steer clear of anyone else with that kind of history.  But I think the issue is a bit too complicated in practice for the Astros to be accused of hypocrisy on this point.

The Cubs clinch World Series berth with NLCS Game 6 win

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  The Chicago Cubs celebrate defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 in game six of the National League Championship Series to advance to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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After 71 years, the Cubs are headed back to the Fall Classic.

The dominance with which Clayton Kershaw attacked the Cubs in Game 2 of the NLCS was nonexistent in Game 6 as the Dodgers’ ace loaded the bases to start the first inning and scattered five extra bases and five runs over five frames. By the time Dave Roberts pulled his starter in the sixth inning, Kershaw was sitting on a Game Score of 33, the lowest he’s mustered since the start of the 2015 season. Only one of his strikes came via curveball, and whether he was having difficulty locating his off-speed stuff or felt more confident with the fastball-slider combo, it was the fewest curves he’d seen land for strikes all year (per David Adler).

Where the Dodgers were able to give Kershaw the edge in Game 2, they found themselves powerless against opposing hurler Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks turned out 7 1/3 scoreless frames with two hits and six strikeouts, preserving the Cubs’ second shutout of the postseason and the first since they bested the Giants in Game 1 of the NLDS. After his 1-0 loss to the Dodgers early in the NLCS, seeing the MLB ERA leader turn out a gem was a relief for the Cubs, especially one as spectacular as an 88-pitch two-hitter.

With Hendricks effectively stymieing the Dodgers’ best attempts to get on base, the Cubs played to their strengths at the plate. Kris Bryant and Ben Zobrist cleared the bases in the first inning for a two-run lead, followed by a Dexter Fowler RBI single in the second. Willson Contreras came through in the fourth inning for the Cubs, lifting an 87 m.p.h. slider to left field for his first home run of October, while Anthony Rizzo hit his second homer of the postseason on a 1-1 fastball in the fifth.

Neither bullpen allowed a single run from the sixth inning onward. Dodgers’ right-hander Kenley Jansen took the ball from Kershaw in the sixth, scattering four strikeouts over three innings and denying the Cubs so much as a single baserunner through the end of the game. Aroldis Chapman, meanwhile, issued just one walk in 1 1/3 scoreless frames, inducing a Yasiel Puig double play to clinch the Cubs’ 17th franchise pennant.

With the win, the Cubs will face off against the Indians in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday at 8 PM EDT. And, in case you needed a reminder:

Video: Willson Contreras blasts first postseason home run off of Kershaw

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 22:  Willson Contreras #40 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during game six of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field on October 22, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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So much for Clayton Kershaw posing a threat tonight. The Cubs got their knocks in early and often against the Dodgers’ ace during Game 6 of the NLCS, racking up three runs in the first three innings before rookie catcher Willson Contreras unleashed his first postseason home run in the bottom of the fourth inning.

According to’s Phil Rogers, Contreras became the 10th Cub to homer in the 2016 playoffs, following big hits by Addison Russell, Anthony Rizzo, Dexter Fowler, Miguel Montero, David Ross, Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Travis Wood, and Javier Baez. Of the ten home run hitters, Contreras joins catchers David Ross and Miguel Montero as yet another backstop capable of driving the long ball (and, less importantly, as another player capable of a sweet, sweet bat flip).

Rizzo, whose last homer was a deep drive to right field off of Los Angeles right-hander Pedro Baez in Game 4 of the NLCS, piled on Kershaw’s five-run outing with another home run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Kershaw called it a night after five frames, and the Cubs currently lead the Dodgers 5-0 in the sixth inning.