UPDATE (Jan. 14, 7:26 p.m.) — The Red Sox and Alex Cora have "mutually agreed to part ways."
Pete Rose knows better than anyone what it's like to receive a harsh penalty from Major League Baseball.
The sport's all-time hits leader accepted a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball in 1989 for betting on games while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Rose's ban still hasn't been lifted, and the punishment also has kept him from being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Houston Astros received an enormous penalty of their own Monday after the league investigated the club for illegally stealing signs during its 2017 World Series-winning season. Included in the league's punishment were the suspensions of manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow through the 2020 World Series, in addition to a $5 million fine and the loss of first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. Hinch and Luhnow were fired shortly after the league announced its penalties.
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora likely is the next person to be penalized. Cora was the Astros' bench coach in 2017, and according to the league's report, he played a pivotal role in creating and implementing the system used to steal signs from opposing teams.
Astros players received no punishment, however, and Rose questioned that decision in recent comments made to Randy Miller of NJ.com.
“So they fire the GM, they fire the manager, and (MLB) probably is going to get Alex Cora, who was the (Astros) bench coach at the time,” Rose told Miller. “But what about the players who were behind this and taking the knowledge? Should they get off scot-free? Don’t you have to do something to the players who were accepting the stolen signs? Nothing’s been done. Is that fair?”
Rose thinks the players deserve their share of the guilt from this sign-stealing operation.
“Most players don’t give a damn about what happens to an organization as long as it doesn’t happen to them,” Rose said, per Miller. “If I’m a player and every time I bat I’m getting the signs from the dugout, I’m just as guilty as the guy who is giving me the signs.”
Astros players, as of this writing, have not spoken out on social media with any sort of reaction to the punishment handed down to the organization, or the firing of the manager and general manager. Plenty of other people around baseball have shared their thoughts, including New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman putting Cora on blast via Twitter on Tuesday.
The MLB is still investigating the Red Sox for stealing signs in 2018 -- Cora's first year as manager. Any punishment for Cora won't be announced until that investigation is completed.