And this antiquated notion that Fiers is the one who is wrong has to end. We’ve heard that idea from many in baseball, first back in November when The Athletic’s article with Fiers’ comments was originally published, and then Jessica Mendoza last week and Pedro Martinez this week. It’s Martinez’s comments that I’d like to look at today. Not because he said anything different or worse than any others attacking Fiers, but because he’s the most recent example and he clearly laid out a common line of thinking with which I disagree.MORE: Ex-pitcher Jack McDowell says White Sox, Tony La Russa cheated in ’80sI’ll admit, it’s not often that I find myself disagreeing with Martinez. He’s a brilliant baseball mind, and his open and honest opinions about the game are always welcome. When he’s speaking on MLB Network or TBS during the postseason, I always make sure to listen to what he’s saying, because I always learn something new. But it’s hard to understand his small-view approach to this topic in his recent interview with WEEI.Let’s start with this: “Whatever happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse and Fiers broke the rules,” Martinez said. “I agree with cleaning up the game. I agree that the fact that the Commissioner is taking a hard hand on this, but at the same time players should not be the one dropping the whistle-blower.”See the problem here? If the goal is to clean up the game, to rid the sport of this type of cheating scandal, that HAS to start with the players. Who else really knows what’s going on? Are we supposed to rely on the people working the video room in Houston to be the whistleblowers? The janitors who have to replace beat-up trash cans? That seems silly. It’s a small-view approach because it implies that what happens to an individual team is more important than what happens for the sport as a whole. If you really think it’s better for the sport to be clean, your concern for the team can’t be the top priority. Next: “If he was to do it when he was playing for the Houston Astros I would say Mike Fiers has guts. But to go and do it after you leave the Houston Astros because they don’t have you anymore, that doesn’t show me anything,” Martinez said on WEEI. “You’re just a bad teammate.”I do agree that the best time for Fiers to have said something was when he was with the Astros, when he was part of the team that was cheating. Fiers didn’t do that, as pretty much every single Astros fan has pointed out on social media, as if that invalidates what he saw. But the next best time? ANY other time. Literally ANY other opportunity to expose cheating is a good time to expose cheating.More: ”If you have integrity you find ways to tell everybody in the clubhouse, ‘Hey, we might get in trouble for this. I don’t want to be part of this.’ You call your GM. You tell him. Or you call anybody you can or MLB or someone and say, ‘I don’t want to be part of this.’ Or you tell the team, ‘Get me out of here, I don’t want to be part of this.’ Then you show me something.”I’m sorry, but “integrity” is not seeing cheating happen and never, ever saying anything. That’s being an accomplice. That’s taking the easy way out. And I guess I don’t see why it would be better to remain anonymous, to go through back channels. You want to show me you’re trying to clean up your sport? Take a public stand, like Fiers did. Put your name behind your words. That’s a big reason The Athletic article was so influential, why MLB was so quick to investigate and punish. Anonymous sources are important, but they just don’t have the same impact. And that’s why Fiers should be applauded, not attacked. We’ve seen some of that, too, thankfully. I’m 5 years removed from baseball but I’m still in the clubhouse quite a bit. Id be shocked if an overwhelming majority of players aren’t appreciative of Fiers did. To think he will be ostracized is crazy, it’s old school thinking or an opinion of someone who’s never played— dan haren (@ithrow88) January 21, 2020We’ve seen players turn the tide before. Baseball is, for the most part, past the PED era — as much as it ever will be — largely because players led the charge. They were tired of competing on an uneven playing field, and when influential players started speaking out, that’s when things shifted. Remember when Justin Verlander said “Test me every day” in an interview? If baseball is ever going to be a clean sport, one free of the type of cheating scandals that have tainted the sport over the past few decades — PEDs, sign-stealing and whatever’s next — change has to start with the players.Players who aren’t afraid to not only call out the cheaters, but players who are not afraid to stand behind their words. Baseball needs players like Mike Fiers. Cheaters don’t deserve protection. They don’t deserve complicit silence. We’re seeing that type of reaction from players in this scandal, too. For the sake of the game I Hope this isn’t true.. if true, there needs to be major consequences to the players. That Completely ruins the integrity of the game!!!— Cody Bellinger (@Cody_Bellinger) January 16, 2020The problem isn’t the players who report cheating, it’s the players who cheat and the organizations that support/encourage the cheating.That’s the thing to always remember.