Major League Baseball said last week it had no intention of stripping the 2017 Houston Astros or 2018 Boston Red Sox of their World Series championships in the wake of its investigation of illegal electronic sign stealing.
We’re happy to hear that. MLB is not the illogical NCAA, known for taking victories and championships away from teams convicted of some sort of malpractice. The word they use? Vacated.
What would be the point of vacating history at this point. Asterisks are for apologists. If anything, MLB should just offer a formal apology to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost to both the Astros and Red Sox in those allegedly tainted series. They are the ones who suffered the worst fate. They are the ones who should be pissed off.
“You have the best players in the world at what they do know exactly what’s coming ahead of time … it’s absolutely game-changing, I don’t know how else to say it,” Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling told the media attending the team’s Fan Fest at Dodger Stadium on Saturday. “ If you told a middle linebacker what just went into Tom Brady’s headset and (linebacker) turns around and tells the team, ‘Hey they’re running it to the left side,’ my guess is that guy is not going to make it to the line of scrimmage.”
The truth of the matter is, the Dodgers don’t want credit for those championships. Their mindset is what’s done is done and they have no intention of metaphorically dragging their bats back to the dugout with sad looks on their faces.
“We just wanna move forward in 2020, get prepared this season, and do it the right way and get all those experiences – get to catch that last out, get to dogpile on the field, put on those shirts, put on those hats, have someone be the MVP and get a car, be in the locker room, spray the champagne, get sized for rings,” third baseman Justin Turner said. “Take that parade that L.A. is dying to have, and have that parade in downtown L.A., and do it the right way.”
If anything, the Dodgers say they are a little irritated by what happened. Although there is no concrete evidence either the Astros or Red Sox were up to no good during the World Series, the idea they might have been – and that might have influenced the outcome – will always grate on the organization.
“‘Frustrating is probably the floor of my emotions,” manager Dave Roberts said, who added he felt badly by his pitchers who may have paid the ultimate price.
A few Dodgers players said their team had heard the rumors about the Astros prior to the start of the World Series and approached Game 1 with some apprehension.
“It turns out they weren’t (rumors),” Kike Hernandez said. “It’s 2020. It’s a new decade. It’s time to move forward. This situation sucks, but it is what it is.”
Meanwhile, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman thinks the $5 million fine, suspensions of former manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow and loss of four top draft picks in 2020 and 2021 levied by MLB, delivered the necessary message.
“MLB did what they had to do, what they felt was necessary,” Turner added. “I think the tough part is – we know how hard it is to win a World Series. Getting there back-to-back years and not being successful – we know that it’s something that you really have to earn. With the commissioner’s report and the evidence and what they have, it’s hard to feel like [the Astros] earned it and they earned the right to be called champions, which I think is something everybody in this game holds pretty highly.”
Friedman also said no one in the Astros organization had reached out to him to offer an apology.
“In my opinion, they have not (shown enough remorse),” Friedman said.
Interestingly, the one Dodger with connections to Mike Fiers, the former Astros pitcher who tipped off The Athletic about the scandal, is happy Fiers had the courage to speak.
“I respect Mike a lot,” said reliever Blake Treinen, who a teammate of Fiers in Oakland. “And I think there’s this idea that that’s kind of normal across the league, what’s happened. That’s not normal. I don’t think people have an idea of what’s normal across the league.
“I respect him for what he said. What’s worse? Him knowing about it and not saying anything about it to his teammates, or him going out there with an unfair advantage? Or saying something so that people know what’s true?”