Scot McKnight on Why the MLB Commissioner Needs to Discipline the Players, Too

Image: Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Scot McKnight is an American New Testament scholar, historian of early Christianity, theologian, and author who has written widely on the historical Jesus, early Christianity and Christian living. He is currently Professor of New Testament at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, IL. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.


Baseball is part of my family, and it goes way back. My father played some minor league ball, one of Kris’ brothers was a top notch high school baseball player but chose basketball, my son played in the Cubs organization for five years and has been in the front office for more than a decade, and I ran a baseball camp for about a decade.

We are Cubs fans, and that says a lot. One has to like baseball to be a Cubs fan. Groans omitted.

The Astros cheating scandal, I want to say to Rob Manfred, baseball’s Commissioner, disgraces baseball, stains the reputation of everything the Astros have done over the last few years, and harms the game of baseball.

When whistleblower Mike Fiers went to The Athletic, the best news for sports, about how the Astros were decoding the catcher’s signs and then communicating the pitches to the hitters, the story broke.

An investigation happened. The Commissioner seems to have granted immunity to the perpetrators of the cheating.

The mistake the Commissioner made was to punish the GM and the Manager. Amazing.

Imagine, for our blog’s audience, that a group of adults in a church were funneling money from the church into their own pockets, their actions became known, and a denominational leader disciplined the pastor and an assistant pastor but not those who did the deed. That’s a miscarriage of justice. This, I would say, would never happen.

The Commissioner’s bad decision will not end the matter. Why?

The players on other teams will now police the actions of the Astros – and someone could get injured – because the Commissioner’s own approach was both inadequate and morally vacuous. The players who did the deed are the ones who must be punished first and foremost.

Cody Bellinger, Kris Bryant, Justin Turner, Yu Darvish, Mike Trout – they and others have made it clear that the players should be disciplined. When players want other players disciplined the Commish needs to listen. The players have clearer moral eyes than the Commissioner. They do not often speak up like this but they see the significance of the wrong the players committed.

The fans will do the same. The Astros players who are already implicated will be booed loudly every time they play. The Commissioner should also be booed.

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Source: Christianity Today