No matter what decision commissioner Rob Manfred rendered in the St. Louis Cardinals' hacking case, he was going to anger lots of folks. If his decision was perceived as being too hard on St. Louis, the Cardinals would be angry over the fact that, from their perspective, they were punished for the actions of someone who they say acted as a lone wolf. If Manfred didn't give the Houston Astros some form of compensation, then the Houston front office, the target of Chris Correa's federal crimes, would have thought it should have received relief.
Because of Manfred's friendship and perceived alliance with St. Louis chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., any penalty thought to be too light would be viewed as favoritism.
In the end, Manfred's decision to force the Cardinals to surrender $2 million and their No. 56 and 75 overall picks in the 2017 draft to the Astros probably offended rival evaluators, as a group, more than anyone else.
Some common observations and conspiracy theories that belong to officials in the industry: