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Dodgers: Analyst Repeats Ridiculous, Oft-Debunked Parallel Between 2017 Astros and 2018 Red Sox

Ben Verlander is in a tough position. He’s the less-talented, more-handsome little brother of a future Hall of Fame pitcher, and he’s trying to make his way as a baseball analyst. With a last name no one has ever heard except on him and his brother, it’s impossible for anyone to ever think of him as “Justin Verlander’s brother Ben.”

So there will always be rumblings of nepotism or “no one would care what he thinks if his name was Ben Smith,” and sometimes Ben thinks has to resort to Hot Takes to overcome that.



In a recent conversation on his Flippin’ Bats podcast, he and his co-host, Alex Curry, were talking about the possibility of enigmatic shortstop Carlos Correa signing with the Dodgers. Curry mentioned that she’d seen a couple polls where 41% of Dodgers fans said they’d eventually accept Correa and 59% said “No way.” Verlander had feelings about that.

“I don’t believe that. … If Carlos Correa is an All-Star next year for the Dodgers, that second half he’s gonna be loved. And guess where Correa shows up more than anybody? The playoffs. Come on, 59% of people saying ‘no way’ to accepting Carlos Correa? Come on. The name of the game is winning baseball games, right? And if you have a guy on your team that’s a star and is helping you win baseball games, you’re going to accept him.

“I’ve got news for you, 59% of people who said ‘no way would I accept Carlos Correa’: You’ve sure accepted Mookie Betts! Right? What was he doing in Boston? Then he comes over and you’ve accepted him just fine. So come on, wake up. The guy plays great, he’s an All-Star. If you make the playoffs and he’s your shortstop, you’re gonna accept Carlos Correa. Come on, give me a break.”

Like I said, Verlander is in a tough spot, and that spot gets even tougher when he has to talk about the Astros’ cheating scandal because his brother was on that team. We all have biases, but that’s not an excuse. If anything, Verlander needs to be aware of his bias and actively work to avoid letting it cloud his judgment.

But since he can’t do that, I’ll do it for him.

Verlander asks what he thinks is a rhetorical question, but it’s really not: “What was Mookie Betts doing in Boston?” There’s an answer to this question, Ben, and the answer is: “Nothing even remotely like what Correa did with the Astros.”

There are reports on all of this. We have official information on what happened with both the Astros and the Red Sox. It’s publicly available and easily accessible on the very same internet you use to share your podcast. You want to know what Mookie did in Boston? Let me quote the Red Sox report to you:

“I find that unlike the Houston Astros’ 2017 conduct, in which players communicated to the batter from the dugout area in real time the precise type of pitch about to be thrown, Watkins’s conduct, by its very nature, was far more limited in scope and impact. … I do not find that … most of the players on the 2018 Red Sox knew or should have known that Watkins was utilizing in-game video to update the information that he had learned from his pregame analysis.”

Let’s compare that to the Astros report:

“Witnesses consistently describe this new scheme as player-driven …. [E]veryone
proximate to the Astros’ dugout presumptively heard or saw the banging. … [T]he Astros continued to both utilize the replay review room and the monitor located next to the dugout to decode signs for the remainder of the regular season and throughout the Postseason. … Most of the position players on the 2017 team either received sign information from the banging scheme or participated in the scheme by helping to decode signs or bang on the trash can. Many of the players who were interviewed admitted that they knew the scheme was wrong because it crossed the line from what the player believed was fair competition and/or violated MLB rules.”

We all see the differences here, right? Boston’s cheating was almost entirely unknown to the players. Houston’s cheating was planned, orchestrated, and carried out by the players. You see the difference, right Ben?

I don’t even think Verlander is necessarily wrong in his overall assessment. If Correa signs with the Dodgers and plays well, most Dodger fans will eventually accept him. It’s the nature of fandom.

But to try to use a parallel to Betts — “They accepted a guy who didn’t do anything wrong, why wouldn’t they accept the guy who actively cheated?” — just shows a lack of critical thinking that is almost unbelievable.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. He's been blogging about baseball and the Dodgers 2004 and doing it professionally since 2015. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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8 Comments

  1. The difference is very simple they never found enough evidence against Boston period!! Second of all who was the manager of Boston that year? Do honestly that the guy is that stupid after what went down in Houston to do the same thing over…lol it’s not even a comparison at all seriously. Also it takes money for investigations IE the rest of the league. When you leave something out in the complete there is room to investigate. The Astros cheated period and they got caught period!! Boston is not a relative argument for the reasons I just mentioned!!! Stop making comparisons. No one wants a cheating as_hole on this. Especially someone who doesn’t have respect from the clubhouse or fans. There are plenty of other options out there. No one wants Correa and no has forgotten. Verlander is a pitcher he was not part of the scandal. I don’t blame any fan for not wanting Correa including myself!!!

  2. I kind of agree with you on this, but only on not wanting Correa on the Dodgers. Your assertion that Alex Cora would not be stupid enough to do the same thing over is flawed. Cora managed the Red Sox in 2018, when the cheating scandal news did not yet break. We all did not find out about it until 2019, so therefore it’s entirely plausible that Cora would’ve been brazen enough to try it again when he went over to the Sox. I just think that the culture of the Red Sox was different and did not fit with the cheating bastard ways of the astros. But whatever Boston did was very limited and didn’t include Betts (or most of the players) from what is understood. So yes, you’re correct in that you can’t compare the two.
    As for Verlander – I don’t want that cheater on the Dodgers either. Yes, he’s a cheater just as much because he knew about it and went along. He also has been very vocal about MLB dumbing down or juicing the baseballs, which put pitchers at a disadvantage. He’s a cheater and a hypocrite. Screw him and Correa, and anyone else who was on the 2017 astros and did not show any real remorse.

    1. Well I guess he was that stupid however…lol I agree the culture was such that the players did not know it was going on behind the scenes. Once again a huge difference in the Asstrols players who knew exactly what they were doing. I don’t really want Verlander myself. I would take De Grom or Rodon over him, and or a possible trade for Burnes.

  3. ? ? ? Still living in the past! OMG… Move on already. I am a Astros fan and we all know our team cheated in 2017. They got punished for it. But guess what it’s 2022 and the Astros are still winning!! 2022 World Series CHAMPS. So the haters need to move on already. Honestly, it’s become pathetic. FYI Haters. The Astros were one of the best road teams in 2017 if not the best.

  4. I hate to say this as a Dodgers fan ever since I was 14 and now I’m 48. I kinda agree with this guy Chris Chance. I pretty much don’t like the agreement but still you will always be cheaters. Dusty Baker deserved that title as far as the rest of the players..cheerleaders..owner…cats..dogs…mice & the [email protected]’em…& the fans too.

  5. I agree with you as far Dusty Baker goes, and I give him mad props, but as far as anything else that Chris said he is nothing but a troll going out of his way to go on other teams sites just to pump up his little wiener. The punishment was a slap on the wrist, and other than Dusty Baker and a few other players on that team I could careless what they’ve done. Congratulations you finally won a World Series without cheating!!

  6. I am sure Ben Verlander does not make as many mistakes in grammar as you do bud.

    Btw, Go ‘Stros!

  7. Hi my name is Darren, and I am an internet troll too!! I have to go on other teams sites to make my wiener look bigger!! [email protected] the A_strols. BTW I think I’m an English teacher too, and I also have to pump my wiennie up more just because Dodger fans don’t like the A_strolls!! Question Darren if the tables were turned and the Dodgers cheated in 2017 you would have the same reaction and it would be far worse because it’s the Dodgers!! Thank you come again!!! Take your little internet troll buddy Chris with you and go compare how small both your wieners are!!

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