Has any team in baseball had as bad of luck the last couple of years as the Los Angeles Dodgers?
A year after dropping back-to-back World Series against the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, respectively, it was revealed that the Astros used a complex sign-stealing system to gain a competitive edge in the 2017 season. The Red Sox, have also been implemented in a sign-stealing scandal as well but no details have been released as of press time.
According to the office of MLB Commissioners Robert Manfred, the Astros used a camera in center field to relay signs to the Astros bench, who would then tip-off the pitch to the batter via a loud banging sound on a trash can.
Not only has the Astros sign-stealing scandal left the latest black-eye on the sport (move over steroid scandal), but now the Los Angeles City Council is getting into the fray. Last week, the City Council unanimously approved a motion requesting that the MLB award the 2017 and 2018 World Series trophies to the Dodgers.
In a statement, First District Councilman Gil Cedillo (whose district includes Dodger Stadium) called the request a matter of justice, adding that the Dodgers would have likely won both World Series.
While it’s safe to argue that the punishments levied against the Astros did not meet the crime — a $5 million fine, the forfeiture of future draft picks and season-long suspensions for manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow (each were subsequently fired by Astros owner Jim Crane) — any talk of awarding the titles to the Dodgers is unrealistic.
For the first time last week, Commissioner Manfred spoke on publicly about the scandal, noting that while vacating the titles remains a possibility, awarding them to the Dodgers is out of the question and would go against the MLB’s history of not changing the past. He also mentioned that its impossible to figure out whether the Dodgers would have won those series.
He’s correct in that regard. While some members of this editorial board are Dodgers fans who would love to see the titles arrive at Chavez Ravine, vacating the titles would be far more appropriate than awarding them to the Blue Crew.
Awarding the titles to the rival team opens up a can of worms, putting too much stock in what-ifs. If the Dodgers would be worthy of the title, what about the other teams the Astros and Red Sox beat to get there? Should we award the American League Championship to the New York Yankees, who the Astros beat to make it to the World Series in 2017, or even the Astros, who the Red Sox beat to advance to the Series in 2018?
Not only would vacating the titles present a clear mandate to the rest of the league that cheating will not be tolerated, but it also goes to show that ill gotten gains received via cheating will not be acknowledged or celebrated. It’s good that the MLB took action to penalize the teams for their schemes. But as for the Dodgers, maybe next season will finally be their year. Let’s not look to the past for fixes.