There it is, folks. The cat is out of the bag, the truth stands in all its stark nakedness. Manager Alex Cora is a serial cheater, and the historic 2018 World Series season has been stamped with an indelible asterisk.

In hindsight, it’s remarkable we didn’t know they were cheating. I mean, Steve Pearce turned into a titan, and Jackie Bradley Jr. was playing like Willie Mays.

Something was certainly rotten in the State of Denmark.

In fairness, however, the game of baseball has a notorious past with cheaters and fixers and bookmakers. There was, of course, 1919 Black Sox scandal where eight men, including Shoeless Joe Jackson—although the evidence that Jackson tanked was shoddy, at best—then Pete Rose’s expulsion for betting on games.

You also can’t overlook the neck-less goons of The Steroid Era: Bonds and McGuire and Sosa and Clemens.

And stealing signs has always been part of the game, a competitive edge. It is alleged Bobby Thompson hit The Shot Hear around the World while sitting on pitch after a stolen sign.

So what’s the big deal here? Why is Cora demonstratively worse than his predecessors in the Circle of Cheats?

He’s not, I guess. But Cora is the one link to the tainted Houston Astros 2017 World Series title, which also cost the manager AJ Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow their jobs, and the equally smeared 2018 Series.

It’s a bad optic.

Maybe it was Cora’s audacity, the hubris with which he composed himself, knowing the Red Sox had already been warned by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in 2017 for stealing signs with Apple watches.

Maybe it’s not only Cora that’s bothering me but the team as a whole, their colossal apathy last season, and now this bombshell coming after Red Sox management told fans they were going to cut payroll and raise ticket prices.

Maybe I’m sick of this team altogether, and I want to see the whole thing blown to smithereens, a complete reboot of the Boston Red Sox in 2020, with a new manager, new attitudes and modicum of humility as an organization.

There are some things in life worse than mediocrity, and I’d be inclined to argue that it’s better to be average than a cheat.

Happy trails, Alex Cora. Don’t let the door hit you.