Let's get this straight: Syracuse University’s Jim Boeheim had to forfeit 108 basketball wins, but baseball's Houston Astros get to keep their 2017 World Series championship? It doesn't seem fair.

The Astros cheated in order to win that trophy. Apologies from the Astros' players and brass have felt hollow. The stripping of draft picks and a wrist-slap fine appears to be insufficient punishment. Baseball's 10th commissioner, Rome, New York native Rob Manfred, needs to step up and do more. The signs are everywhere. Look around:

  • College hoops coaches like Boeheim and John Calipari have had victories expunged from their career records for arguably lesser transgressions.
  • LeBron James took time out from his busy NBA season to scold Manfred for not being tougher.
  • The NFL now looks clean by comparison. And that's significant, considering the negative issues that have plagued pro football--crippling injuries, spousal abuse, drug problems, etc.
  • The official treatment of Houston's misdeeds gives steroid sluggers like Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco, along with busted baseball gambler Pete Rose, clearer paths toward potential reinstatement.
  • Astros’ fans are distraught. One friend, in the wake of the scandal, revoked his support for Houston and transferred his allegiance to the Milwaukee Brewers. Imagine the massive ethical earthquake that would shake someone enough that he'd abandon his favorite team.

Baseball faces a lot of challenges. Attendance has declined. Games take too long. The pace is too slow for younger fans. Major rule changes are being tested and considered. Now, the Houston Astros cheating disgrace has hijacked 2020's spring training activites and threatens to darken the entire regular season campaign.

Someone needs to take a hint or two.

Unless the Astros are stripped of their title, baseball will have an ongoing and serious credibility issue. And Astros fans will have a hard time sleeping at night, even if it's on a free promotional bed they got from Houston furniture tycoon Mattress Mack.

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