The problem with climbing up on your high horse is it is a long way to the ground.
You can ask fans of the New York Yankees about that right now.
Since December, Yankees fans have been riding high in their self-righteous saddles as they wagged their pious fingers at fans and players of the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox.
Their World Series titles of 2017 and 2018 should be stripped because the Astros and Red Sox blatantly cheated, Yankees fans say. Jose Altuve wore a buzzer when he hit that series-winning home run off the Bombers in the American League Championship Series, so he should be banned for life.
Even Yankees slugger Aaron Judge indicated that he should be given the 2017 American League MVP award that should be taken away from Altuve.
The Astros admitted to an elaborate sign-stealing operation that helped them win the World Series. Sure, they were weasels and phony about it, but at least they kind of admitted it.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, maintained their innocence, and, after investigating that took longer than the Mueller Report, they were backed up by the findings released to the public by Major League Baseball.
For their minor violations of the use of the replay room, the Red Sox were stripped of their second-round draft pick and team replay operator J.T. Watkins was banned for the 2020 season.
A slap on the wrist would have hurt much more.
Of course, the Red Sox previously lost manager Alex Cora because of his role in the Astros’ cheating in 2017.
All along, we argued that every team was stealing signs, or at least trying to. We knew the Red Sox were not completely innocent. We just new that there were not any more guilty than the average team because they are all trying to steal signs.
Sign stealing is as old as the game itself. If you cannot hide your signs or change them up to protect your pitcher, then you deserve to get lit up.
Using video to steal signs, of course, is a game changer, and MLB did just as little to prepare for the high-tech age as it did for the coronavirus.
So, players and teams from around the league were trying to take advantage when video became so easily available in the dugouts. It was like the Wild West.
Yankees fans, though, did not buy that at all. Only the Astros and Red Sox cheated, they said. They were the only ones under investigation by MLB.
Those two teams, as coincidence would have it, ended the Yankees playoff runs the last three seasons.
While the Red Sox and Astros took the low road to victory, Yankees players said their prayers to the baseball gods and brushed their teeth between every inning, and their fans felt virtuous.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
This weekend, a report in The Athletic showed that the Yankees were not so innocent after all. In fact, what they did could be more egregious based on the whole theory that the coverup is worse than the crime.
Just ask Richard Nixon about that.
Failed Commissioner Rob Manfred was apparently helping the Yankees cover up their cheating scandal, all while making his findings on other teams available to the public.
A lawsuit filed by DraftKings fantasy geeks resulted in a ruling by a judge that a letter from Manfred to the Yankees addressing their 2017 investigation into the team’s misdeeds should be unsealed.
The Yankees filed an emergency appeal to keep their dirty little secrets hidden. The team argued that revealing the letter would cause “significant reputational injury to the team.”
Well, the Yankees were certainly not worried about damaging the reputation of the Red Sox, Astros or Altuve.
Now, it would appear that the Bronx Bombers broke that age-old rule about living in glass houses and casting stones. And now their walls are shattering in around them.
Of course, Yankees fans call this “fake news,” even if the news was broken by The Athletic’s Evan Drellich, the same reporter they found so very credible when he broke the stories about the Astros and Red Sox.
According to Joe Rivera of the Sporting News, the Yankees allegedly had three different cameras set up in the outfield in 2017 — left field, right field and center field — trained on the opposing catcher’s mitt to steal signs.
Then, those signs were decoded in the dugout and relayed to the hitter with whistling, people in the stands, positioning of coaches and so on.
Hmmm. Richard, isn’t that the same thing the Astros were doing?
The biggest difference is that the Yankees had the commissioner help them keep it quiet.
The Yankees were supposed to submit the letter on Monday. That was delayed by the appeal.
Conveniently, Manfred said on Monday that he is not so confident that a baseball season will be held in 2020 — just five days after stating emphatically that “We will play Major League Baseball this year.”
Poof. Just like that, the Yankee story got knocked to the back burner.
We are all sure that is just another crazy coincidence.
Look, every team does everything that it can to get an edge. Every team has cheated to some degree, whether it is with sign stealing or using players on steroids.
It just appears that the Yankees cheat just a little more, and they get help from the Commissioner’s Office when they do it.
And now the Yankees fans must climb down from the high horses they have been riding for so long. Instead of apologizing for their smug lectures, however, they have appeared to go into hiding.
They better hope that the baseball season is canceled by the incompetent commissioner and short-sighted players union because Yankees fans are going to take a beating.
If there is a silver lining for them, it is that they do not have to listen other fans calling for the Yankees to be stripped of their World Series title. All that cheating could not deliver one of those.
By the way, much like the Yankees, I stole that last line.
Now excuse me as I saddle up.
— Bill Foley, who has been known to ride a high horse, writes a column that usually appears Tuesdays on ButteSports.com. He is writing more frequently during the coronavirus lockdown. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Foles74.