Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred faced some criticism at the time of announcing punishments for the Houston Astros after finding they electronically stole signs through their 2017 World Series run and the following season as well.
Most took exception with Astros players being granted full immunity — a deal MLB struck in exchange for full cooperation with the league’s investigation. That frustration has been multiplied tenfold in the wake of responses from theAstros organization and players.
Multiple Los Angeles Dodgers players have weighed in on the matter, with perhaps the most pointed comments from reigning National League MVP Cody Bellinger. He asserted the Astros stole a World Series from the Dodgers, cheated for three years and said Manfred’s ruling was lacking, among other issues.
In a wide ranging interview with ESPN’s Karl Ravech, Manfred explained why he disagreed with Bellinger’s claim that punishments were not harsh enough:
“I don’t agree that the disciplines were weak. I really don’t. I think the disciplines are strong enough that they will deter people from engaging in this behavior going forward. I think you need to think about the overall context in terms of what’s been done to peoples’ reputations, what they’re going to have to answer questions about — arguably for the rest of their lives. I understand Cody’s passion for the game, but I don’t agree with those comments.”
Bellinger is hardly the first player with sharp criticism of the Astros’ scandal, but he’s the only opponent who has been subject of a retort. Carlos Correa questioned Bellinger’s awareness of the full situation, his reading comprehension and used an expletive in suggesting he no longer discuss the topic.
With vitriol present across the sport, Astros manager Dusty Baker publicly asked for MLB to step in and protect his players from intentionally being thrown at. Cleveland Indians starter Mike Clevinger recently suggested players would seek retribution, and Ross Stripling admitted he gave consideration to hitting Astros batters when it appeared a trade with the L.A. Angels was likely.
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