When the New England Patriots were caught cheating during “Spygate," the NFL took away the team’s 2008 first round draft pick. When the NFL determined Tom Brady knew about the scheme to deflate footballs, he was suspended for four games.

Apparently, MLB handles its justice a bit differently, because now that we know current and former members of the Houston Astros cheated during their World Series-winning 2017 season, the league has decided to doll out zero punishment at all to the players. They keep their rings, their prize money, and will go down in the storied history of baseball as world champions.

The latest wrinkle of this sad, bizarre scandal happened Monday morning, when Astros second baseman Jose Altuve walked into the locker room without a t-shirt on, reportedly flaunting a tattoo on his left shoulder that said “Melanie." Why’s that important? Because his teammate Carlos Correa claimed it’s the reason Altuve refused to rip off his jersey after his game-winning home run against the Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series last year, and not because he wore an electric buzzer to relay stolen pitching signs.

Let’s assume Correa is telling the truth (though the photographic evidence is lacking, to say the least). Why is it so hard for Altuve, Astros owner Jim Crane, or anyone involved in the scandal to simply say, ‘We didn’t wear buzzers.’ " Instead, their response has been a coy, ‘Well, the league didn’t find anything during their investigation, so ... '"

It also doesn’t explain why Altuve immediately ran to the dugout to change shirts out of sight, instead of celebrating with his teammates. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t exactly inspire much confidence about #Buzzergate during an interview with ESPN on Sunday.

You can never know,” Manfred admitted. Sigh.

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