Los Angeles TV station labels Jose Altuve as 'Astros cheater' during his apology

It’s often the simplest of statements that most accurately capture a new reality.

In the case of the Houston Astros, the team got yet another glimpse of how they will likely be treated going forward thanks to two simple words used by Los Angeles news station KTLA to describe star Jose Altuve as he apologized.

“Astros cheater.”

Fellow Astros Alex Bregman got the same treatment.

It seems extreme, and yet completely accurate.

The Astros deliberately broke the rules to get an advantage, rode that advantage to a World Series title and kept it a secret until one of their former members blew the lid off the whole scheme. If that doesn’t make you a cheater, what possibly could?

The players did the best they could to show contrition Thursday, but it was too little, too late and too opaque.

Their owner laughably claims it didn’t affect the games, but literally any major leaguer can tell you that knowing the pitch in advance is an enormous advantage. Some players might say they disapproved or tried not to use it, but hiding the whole scheme makes them entirely culpable.

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve speaks at a podium as teammate Alex Bregman, seated right, looks on during a news conference before the start of the first official spring training baseball practice for the team Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Los Angeles is not in a forgiving mood when it comes to the Astros. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

This scandal will follow every player involved for their rest of the careers. It has already tainted the franchise’s lone World Series beyond conceivable repair. It could affect Hall of Fame cases. It will be remembered by every fanbase, and it won’t take long before those groups get their say at games.

The Astros’ new normal is just beginning.

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