Oh, STFU and play ball!

Spring training has begun at last, and even that joyous occasion has been marred by the constant bleating and whining by so many about the Astros “cheating” their way to victory: “Altuve booed and hit by pitch in Astros’ first road game,” and all that crap.

For God’s sake, shut up and play ball!

This is the most overrated, blown-out-of-proportion story I can recall in many years. There’s a feeding-frenzy aspect to it that makes me want to puke. “Void their title!” and “Worst thing since the Black Sox!”

Seriously?

What do we do when the Red Sox are busted? And other teams have been implicated too — including the Dodgers, whose players and fans seem particularly certain that their team was robbed. Or have they forgotten that their team has gone 30+ years without a world championship, and that in some corners, LA stands for Lost Again?

Sign-stealing has taken on many forms, and has occurred for as long as signs have been given. Anyone who thinks their team is pure as driven snow, and would NEVER do such a thing, is living in a fairy-tale world. All the Astros did was up the ante; the only crime they’re guilty of was ignoring an edict that banned electronic sign-stealing.

That’s a little like Buffalo Bills head coach Marv Levy bitching an moaning about the Bengals’ use of the no-huddle offense to beat his team, then having his players fake injuries to slow it down — and adding their own K-Gun no-huddle offense the next season.

Teams aren’t mad that the Astros stole signs; they’re mad because Houston got ahead of the curve and found a better way to do it. You can bet the mortgage that teams are working on new-and-improved ways to steal signs right now. This stuff is never going to stop; it’s time for offenses to use technology to combat the “cheaters.”

Why not use a relay system from the dugout to the catcher and pitcher? Maybe borrow one of Altuve’s (alleged) buzzers to do it? Or borrow the NFL’s coach-to-QB communications technology?

Meanwhile, stop all the self-righteous bleating, and play ball. “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’,” as the old saying goes. To believe otherwise is to ignore the realities of pro sports.

Play. Effing. Ball!