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Ex-Cardinals employee Chris Correa lashes out at MLB from prison

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Yesterday, as you know, the Cardinals were fined $2 million and were ordered to surrender two draft picks as punishment for the acts of Chris Correa, their former scouting director, who hacked into the Houston Astros scouting and analytics database. Correa is serving 46 months in prison for his crime.

This morning Correa released a statement sharply criticizing Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred for their findings and order issued yesterday. His statement:

Correa continues to maintain — as he did in court — that he hacked into the Astros system to see what they had hacked from the Cardinals. The judge was not impressed at all with this line of argument and shut Correa down when he tried to offer it as an excuse.

I don’t know if Manfred looked into Correa’s claim that the Astros likewise did wrong, but after more than three years one would have assumed that, had there been unauthorized access in both directions, we would’ve heard about it from someone other than Chris Correa. Either way, I can’t imagine the judge is going to be too impressed with this statement from Correa. And I am certain Major League Baseball will not be moved.

UPDATE: Major League Baseball has issued a statement in response to Correa:

Mr. Correa and potential witnesses were informed of our decision to defer our investigation until the government completed its investigation and any criminal charges against Mr. Correa were adjudicated. Upon the conclusion of the federal investigation, during July and August 2016, the Department of Investigations repeatedly requested Mr. Correa’s cooperation through his attorney. On July 21, 2016, Mr. Correa was informed directly that he would be placed on the permanently ineligible list if he did not cooperate with the Department of Investigations. Mr. Correa not only steadfastly refused to answer any questions, but also opposed the release of any documents by the government to the Office of the Commissioner. On August 23, 2016, Mr. Correa’s attorney told the Department of Investigations that Mr. Correa was not interested in ‘providing any information directly or indirectly to MLB.’ The Department of Investigations was not provided evidence to substantiate the other allegations contained in Mr. Correa’s letter, but remains willing to meet with Mr. Correa at any time.”

 

Oh good, it’s “Yasiel Puig is a showboat” season

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With the Los Angeles Dodgers punching their ticket to the World Series, Yasiel Puig is now going to be the subject of commentary by people who tend not to care about Yasiel Puig until it’s useful for them to write outraged columns or go on talk radio rants about baseball deportment.

We got a brief teaser of this last night when, after scoring the Dodgers’ ninth run on a Logan Forsythe double, TBS analyst Ron Darling criticized Puig for his “shenanigans” and “rubbing it in.” Never mind that his third base coach was waving him home and that, if he didn’t run hard, he was just as likely to be criticized for dogging it. In other news, baseball teams don’t stop trying in the fourth inning of baseball games, nor should they.

That was just an appetizer, though. The first real course of the “Puig is a problem” feast we’re likely to be served over the next week and a half comes from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, who wrote it even before the Dodgers won Game 5 last night:

If you were raised to love baseball and to recognize the smart, winning kind from everything less, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is insufferable. As the sport is diminished by professionals who disregard the basic act of running to first base as a matter of style, Puig, an incurable home-plate poser, often makes turning doubles and triples into singles appear effortless . . . In the postseason, Puig continues to behave as if he’s in the Home Run Derby. He even seems to relish his high-risk flamboyant foolishness despite frequent backfires.

This may as well be a fill in the blanks column from 2013 or 2014, when “Puig is a flashy showboater who costs his team more than he gives it” columns were all the rage. It ignores the fact that Puig, commonly dinged for being lazy, worked his butt off in 2017, particularly on defense, to the point where he has a strong case for a Gold Glove this year. It also ignores his .455/.538/.727 line in the NLDS sweep of the Diamondbacks and his .389/.500/.611 line against the Cubs in the NLCS. In the regular season he set career highs for games, homers, RBI, stolen bases and almost set a career high for walks despite having seventy fewer plate appearances than he did back in 2013 when he walked 67 times. He’s not the MVP candidate some thought he might be, but he’s a fantastic player who has been a key part of the Dodgers winning their first pennant in 29 years.

But the dings on Puig from the likes of Mushnick have rarely been about production. They’ve simply been about style and the manner in which he’s carried himself. To the extent those issues were legitimate points of criticism — particularly his tardiness, his relationships with his teammates and his at times questionable dedication — they have primarily been in-house concerns for the Dodgers, not the casual fan like Mushnick. On that score the Dodgers have dealt with Puig and, by all accounts, Puig has responded pretty well. An occasional lapse to be sure, but nothing which makes him a greater burden than a benefit. I mean, if he was, would be be batting cleanup in a pennant-clinching game?

So if the beef with Puig is not really about baseball, what could Phil Mushnick’s issue with him possible be?

I, for one, have no idea whatsoever.