ASTROS CHEATING FIASCO SUPERCEDES NFL PLAYOFFS HEADLINES
Last updated 1/21/2020 at Noon
We now know that the Kansas City Chiefs will meet the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV on Feb 2 at Miami, Fla.
after Sunday’s AFC and NFC Conference Championship Games.
The Chiefs have had a 50-year hiatus from the Super Bowl, having last played and won SB IV over Minnesota in New Orleans while Head Coach Andy Reid is still looking for his first Super Bowl victory.
Sixteen years ago, when Reid was with the Philadelphia Eagles, his team was defeated by the New England Patriots.
The 49ers will be going for their sixth Super Bowl championship which would tie New England and Pittsburgh for best of all time.
Their last win was after the 1994 season over the Chargers.
After falling behind 10-0 early in the game, the Chiefs caught fire and went ahead 21-17 at halftime and then blew out the upstart Tennessee Titans 35-24.
The 49ers jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead and coasted to a 37-20 victory over Green Bay.
Just after the conference championship teams were determined, a blockbuster announcement that Major League Baseball is punishing the Houston Astros for allegedly using video monitors to illegally steal their opponents’ signs came across the wire.
“On Jan. 13, in one of the darkest days of the sports’ history, commissioner Rob Manfred made sure the Houston Astros’ legacy will forever be tarnished,” stated an article appearing in last week’s USA Today Sports weekly.
“Manfred imposed the most severe penalties against a team since the Chicago Black Sox scandal in 1919 when players threw the World Series, trying to desperately protect the game’s creditability after this latest scandal smears the sport,” the article continued.
“Major league baseball can only be grateful that the Astros didn’t win their second World Series title in three years, making their era of greatness a complete fraud,” the article concluded.
Last Monday MLB suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for a year, the Astros were fined $5 million (the maximum under baseball’s rules) and will forfeit their first and second-round draft picks in the 2020 and 2021 drafts.
Astros’ owner Jim Crane recovered that five million immediately when he fired both Luhnow and Hinch on Monday.
Alex Cora, Houston’s bench coach in 2017 and referenced by MLB as the ringleader in the Astros’ scheme, was named the manager of the Boston Red Sox who won the 2018 World Series and was also being investigated for potential electronic sign- stealing.
Cora was fired by the Red Sox on Tuesday.
Carlos Beltran, who was a member of the 2017 Astros and named manager of the New York Mets after the World Series, felt it was in the best interest of the Mets organization to resign without managing a single game.
Oakland A’s pitcher Mike Fiers, who was a member of the 2017 Astros, became a central figure in the scenario.
The MLB investigation was triggered by a November piece in The Athletic, detailing the baseball crimes committed by the 2017 Astros.
Fiers told the publication that the Astros used television’s centerfield camera images to identify catcher-to-pitcher signs, dissecting them on a secret monitor set up in their dugout.
The batter was informed of what pitch to expect when a teammate would bang on a garbage can if a breaking pitch was coming or do nothing if it was a fastball.
Some are applauding Fiers’ crucial role in the MLB investigation that brought so much to light.
Others are calling him a snitch, feeling he crossed the line.
Former San Francisco third base coach Tim Flannery was among those offended.
“If you’re gonna come out and cost people jobs and careers, and you’re feeling badly about it, then give back your World Series share and donate it to somebody,” he said.
Luhnow, already one of the most unpopular GM’s in the industry may have a difficult finding another team to employ him, certainly in the same position, because he is not well-liked.
Hinch, on the other hand, extremely well-liked among his peers, should have an easier time.
But any team that hires him will be facing a public relations backlash, according to USA Today.
Crane was been busy interviewing candidates for the Astros’ new manager’s job and has already talked to veteran skippers Buck Showalter and John Gibbons in addition to Cubs’ third-base coach Will Venable.
On Monday he visited with 70-year-old Dusty Baker, who is 137 wins away from 2,000 career victories.
Hopefully the hype for Super Bowl LIV will put this Astros’ scandal on the back burner.
But don’t bet on it!!! KWICKIES…With Kansas City’s 35-24 win over Tennessee Sunday, Head Coach Andy Reid became only the second coach to beat every NFL team at least twice.
Guess who the other coach is—yep, Bill Belichick.
Joe Buck will be covering Super Bowl LIV along with sidekick Troy Aikman on Feb. 2.
Coincidentally, his dad Jack Buck announced Super Bowl IV 50 years ago which was the only Super Bowl won by the Kansas City Chiefs, who are an early 1½-point favorite over San Francisco.
Defending Class 4A State Champion golfer Jack Burke got his Little Cypress- Mauriceville junior season started on the right foot by winning the Hardin-Jefferson Invitational at the Beaumont Country Club last week by firing 73 in a cold, steady rain.
LC-M finished third behind Port Neches-Groves and Beaumont Kelly.
Orangefield freshman Xander Parks shot 76 and finished as third medalist.
According to Dan Orlovsky on ESPN’s “First Take” show Monday, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the “best young player in any sport in the world.” Former Port Neches-Groves and University of Arkansas golf star Andrew Landry had to birdie the final two holes in Sunday’s final round to win The PGA Tour American Express Tournament after blowing a six-stroke lead.
Landry drilled a seven-foot birdie putt on No. 17 and then capped it with a six-foot birdie on the final hole to win his second career tournament.
Although San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t have great passing statistics, the only one that counts is he career record as the starting quarterback—23-5.
Former Orangefield star athlete and college coach Bradley Peveto has been replaced as linebacker coach by Texas A&M, despite still having one year left on his contract.
The WNBA and its player’s union announced an eight-year collective bargaining agreement that increases player salaries and provides landmark benefits for motherhood and family planning.
Top players will have a chance to earn more than $500,000 per season, more than triple what had been the maximum under the old agreement.
JUST BETWEEN US…Houston Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien and assistant general manager Jack Easterby appear to have job security after failing for the fourth time to get past the Wild Card Round of the NFL playoffs.
The Texans were bounced two weeks ago by the Super Bowl-bound Kansas City Chiefs 51-31 after leading 24-0.
Senior vice-president of football administration Chris Olsen wasn’t so lucky as he received his pink slip from owner Cal McNair last weekend along with 73-year-old defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, who has been replaced by defensive line coach Anthony Weaver.
More personnel moves could very well be forthcoming.