Major League Baseball concluded its three-month investigation of the Houston Astros last week, handing down significant penalties after determining the organization indeed electronically stole signs at Minute Maid Park during the 2017 season.
The Astros were fined the maximum $5 million and stripped of their first and second-round draft picks over the next two years. Former general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were additionally suspended for the 2020 season, only to later be fired by owner Jim Crane.
While those punishments represent some of the harshest in MLB history, others have chimed in and believe the Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series championship as well.
Despite being asked not to comment on losing to Houston that year, several Los Angeles Dodgers players have voiced their opinion since the league finalized the investigation.
Cody Bellinger was particularly worried by speculation Astros players used wearable devices, while Alex Wood opined that the sign-stealing scandal is an even bigger stain on baseball than the steroid era.
When speaking to reporters at the Dodgers’ annual FanFest event, manager Dave Roberts couldn’t help but imagine what could have been had the Astros played fairly.
“As far as the direct impact of ’17, of the World Series, it’s frustrating, it’s really frustrating,” Roberts said. “This could be a conversation that can go on for quite some time, but I think my demeanor — it’s really frustrating when you look at what could have happened.
“I can’t go too much into it, but speaking for the players, the fans… it was quite a season. What could have been different, really for me, it kind of goes out to some of the unfair criticism that guys like Clayton took, Yu, Kenley… I guess frustrating is probably the floor, but my emotions, that’s kind of where I’m at.”
Roberts’ friendship with Hinch dates back to their days with the San Diego Padres, and while they remain close, he supports the league’s decision to suspend him for the entire 2020 season.
“We’ve been friends for a long time. I don’t think it’s personal. And so what’s going on, what’s happened, his wife and his two girls have been affected, so I don’t think it really affects our relationship personally.
“I haven’t been in touch with him. Obviously there’s a lot of things that have been going on. But this is a professional thing that happened, and we all need to be held accountable for it.
“[Manfred] is doing what he feels is the best thing for baseball. When he hands down those punishments, we support it.”
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