It doesn’t take a die-hard baseball fan to know the past few weeks have been an utter nightmare for the Astros. The club was among the game’s elite from 2017-19, but its accomplishments from that span are now in question as a result of a sign-stealing scheme. That scandal has forced major changes in the front office and in the dugout, with the Astros having let go of suspended GM Jeff Luhnow and A.J. Hinch in favor of James Click and Dusty Baker, respectively. At their most successful, Luhnow and Hinch oversaw the Astros’ first-ever World Series-winning team in 2017. But that seven-game victory over the Dodgers is now tarnished in the eyes of many around the game.
Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger, a member of the 2017 runners-up and the reigning NL MVP, went so far as to declare last week that the Astros “stole” a championship from him and his teammates. However, Major League Baseball did not formally strip the Astros of the title they won (it obviously would have been a drastic measure for MLB), and commissioner Rob Manfred explained why over the weekend.
“First of all, it had never happened in baseball,” Manfred said. “I am a precedent guy. The 2017 World Series will always be looked at as different, whether not you put an asterisk or ask for the trophy back. Once you go down that road as for changing the result on the field, I just don’t know where you stop.”
Manfred went on to state, “The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act.” That didn’t sit well with one of Bellinger’s teammates and another member of the Dodgers’ 2017 team, Justin Turner. The third baseman fired back that Manfred set “a weak precedent” with his punishment of the Astros, continuing: “For him to devalue [the trophy] the way he did yesterday just tells me how out of touch he is with the players in this game. At this point, the only thing devaluing that trophy is that it says ’Commissioner’ on it.”
“Now anyone who goes forward and cheats to win a World Series,” Turner added (via Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times), “they can live with themselves knowing that, ’Oh, it’s OK. … We’ll cheat in the World Series and bring the title back to L.A. Screw [manager] Dave Roberts and screw [general manager] Andrew [Friedman]. It’s just those guys losing their jobs. I still get to be called a champion the rest of my life.’ So the precedent was set by him yesterday in this case.”
Strong comments, to say the least. Which side are you on here? Would Manfred have gone too far in taking away the Astros’ championship?
(Poll link for app users)