A popular meme shared on social media involves a cocky guy sitting at a table and holding up a cup of coffee.
He is in a public place, maybe a college, and he looks settled in to win any debate. The banner wrapped around his table throws out a controversial statement and invites people to “Change my mind.”
The statement on the banner around his table changes from meme to meme. Everyone has seen it, and most have shared it a time or two.
Well, that is going to be me in the near future. I will sit in a table in a very public place — perhaps in the lobby of the Civic Center or maybe a sports bar.
You will not be able to change my mind, however. Instead, my banner will read, “Now hearing apologies.”
I will be accepting requests for forgiveness on behalf of myself and all of the many members of Red Sox Nation who have been pestered for the last month about the validity of the 2018 World Series title.
Major League Baseball, you see, is, for all intents and purposes, about to deliver total vindication for the Red Sox, its players and, more importantly, its fans for the witch hunt involving anonymous, slanderous allegations of sign stealing by the 2018 version of the Old Towne Team, the greatest champion in the history of baseball.
Late last week, two high-ranking officials involved with the investigation told the USA Today that they believe the Red Sox will receive no more than a light punishment, with little evidence of cheating.
In other words, complete and total exoneration.
This is not a 52-48 partisan acquittal, either. This is like if Donald Trump would have been acquitted by a 99-1 Senate vote, and the 99 votes included Chuck Schumer and, somehow, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Did you know that former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre is a special assistant to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred?
Torre has been doing all he can to rig the games for the Yankees and away from Boston since he started piling up those steroid-infested World Series titles in the Bronx.
With Torre sitting in such a position of influence, baseball has been on this crusade to get the Red Sox for several years. First it was Apple Watch, Apple Watch, Apple Watch. Now it is Houston, Houston, Houston.
They just cannot accept the results of the 2004, 2007, 2013 and 2018 World Series.
You thought Red Sox fans were annoying before. Well, now we have a chip of vindication on our shoulders.
We did not create this monster. The self-righteous finger pointers among us are to blame.
The Astros apparently cheated on their way to winning the 2017 World Series title. They were caught, and they admitted to it.
Like the Astros, the Red Sox and a great many other teams in baseball have been accused of using readily-available technology to assist in stealing signs.
Such a thing is as common place in the ballparks as players adjusting cups and spitting out sunflower seeds.
The Astros’ crime was not in the stealing of the signs. It was in banging on the garbage can to alert their batters of the signs in real time.
It is the difference between studying a copy from last year’s midterm and writing the answers on the palm of your hand to ace the test.
The Red Sox did no such thing. They are innocent.
Read the transcripts. There was no quid pro quo. The Red Sox played the perfect baseball season in 2018.
The first people to apologize should be fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers who posted 2018 Dodgers World Series banners on their Facebook page.
They should apologize on behalf of the Los Angeles City Council members who drove through the air pollution and past the thousands of homeless living on the streets on their way to pass a resolution declaring the Dodgers World Series Champions in 2017 and 2018.
Dodgers fans might have a beef with the Astros. That series did, after all, go to the seventh game of the World Series, when the Astros won at home.
Of course, admitting they were duped by such a scheme is like admitting you called and gave our personal information after getting the robocall about your Social Security number being compromised.
It means you are a sucker.
Dodgers fans have no beef with the Red Sox, who did not cheat while curb stomping Los Angeles in five games.
Also, one of three teams the Astros beat in the 2017 postseason just so happens to be the Mighty Red Sox Outta Boston. So, really, the Red Sox have just as much claim to that 2017 title as the Dodgers and Yankees.
Next up for apologies are the Yankees fans who have been pounding their chest for the last month, claiming they were cheated by the Astros and Red Sox.
These holier-than-thou fans conveniently keep forgetting to mention that Carlos Beltran, the only player named as Major League Baseball dropped the hammer on the Astros, was with the Yankees directly before and directly after his days with the Astros.
In 2019, Beltran was a special assistant to the general manager of the Bombers, and the team’s home run total mysteriously went up 39 from 2018. They also had a third basemen go from utility player to Babe Ruth in the blink of an eye.
Surely, that was just a coincidence. No need for Joe Torre’s MLB to investigate that.
Yankee fans have been disrespecting, jumping to conclusions and flat out lying about the Red Sox for a solid month, even as current players from around the American and National Leagues are pointing their fingers squarely at their beloved Bombers with accusations of using technology to steal signs.
They should be on their knees as they apologize for their blatant slander of a great champion.
Next up to apologize are all those other casual fans who have mocked the Red Sox and compared them to the New England Patriots and Spygate.
They say our Red Sox hats should include an asterisk. They say the Red Sox have tarnished the great game and set fire to the Field of Dreams.
This guilty-until-proven-innocent crowd needs to step up and apologize like Archie offered his sincere sorry to Otto on the movie “A Fish Called Wanda.” Anything short of a complete and utter retraction will not do.
The report is in, and the great champions have been vindicated.
So, step up to my table and offer up your best defense.
Casual baseball fans have a pretty good chance of being forgiven. Dodgers fans have some real work to do to get back in the good graces of the Nation.
Yankees fans, well, they will likely be referred to the words of the great Tanner Boyle, the foul-mouthed shortstop for the Chico’s Bail Bonds Bears and one of my personal heroes.
“Hey Yankees, you can take your apology and your trophy and shove ’em straight up your …”
— Bill Foley, who will accept the results of the 2020 World Series … if the Red Sox win it, writes a column that appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74.