I really don’t hate this. I know some folks get up in arms about any lawsuit that seems unorthodox, but the thing is, sometimes it’s the only way to try to address an injustice. Maybe that’s what happened here.
That is to say, I don’t think it’s at all frivolous to suggest that what the Astros did with their cheating scandal in 2017 (and likely other years) may have seriously harmed the career prospects of some pitchers in the league. Thus, I don’t hate the idea – in general – that one of the pitchers who got blown up by the Astros in 2017 is making a case:
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 10, 2020
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) February 10, 2020
Note that Bolsinger is seeking damages for the change in trajectory of his career, but he is also seeking “the Astros to forfeit the roughly $31 million in bonuses from their ill-gotten World Series title, and for the money to go to charities in Los Angeles focused on bettering kids’ lives, as well as to create a fund for retired baseball players who need financial assistance.” It’s a good PR move, if nothing else.
Let’s put some things on the table: Bolsinger was struggling badly long before the Astros torched him in the August outing that ended his big league career. Before that game, he’d posted a 5.49 ERA over 41.0 innings, and that was on the heels of a very down 2016 season. It’s highly likely the end was coming no matter what. But it’s also true that he might’ve hung on a little longer if the Astros hadn’t cheated and destroyed him, as he alleges, in that particular game.
You can’t know how things would’ve played out if that game hadn’t happened. And the thing is, as Bolsinger tells USA Today, it’s not just about him or that one game. The whole suit is about holding the Astros to account for the way their conduct harmed so many other people.
I can’t speak to the merits of the lawsuit – it feels like a loser, as to Bolsinger’s specific case, to be honest – but I do like that he’s putting it out there. Think about how much money Yu Darvish may have lost in free agency after he was destroyed by the Astros in the World Series. Think about the psychological impact on pitchers who couldn’t understand where they went wrong, and then spent hours and days and weeks trying to figure it out. I get more and more angry every time I think about it. Good on Bolsinger for not letting this fade.