On the heels of a sign-stealing scandal, the Los Angeles City Council approved a resolution Tuesday asking Major League Baseball to award the 2017 and 2018 World Series titles to the Dodgers.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred concluded last week that the Houston Astros used a camera to illicitly steal signs from opposing catchers during the 2017 season, which ended with the Astros defeating the Dodgers in seven games in the World Series.
The resolution was introduced by City Councilmen Paul Koretz and Gilbert Cedillo.
“Athletes that don’t cheat want to compete fairly and want to earn their title,” said Cedillo, who represents the district in which Dodger Stadium is located. “What we’re looking at is what the record will reflect, and clearly cheaters should not be rewarded. We don’t want this to become to the new normal. I can’t fathom … winning a title by cheating and then putting it up on the mantle as if it was legitimate.”
According to Manfred, citing results of an investigation by Major League Baseball’s Department of Investigations, the sign-stealing system was orchestrated by then-Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who served as manager of the Boston Red Sox in the 2018 season, which ended with the Red Sox defeating the Dodgers in the World Series in five games.
Manfred initially suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for a year, but the club quickly fired the pair. The Astros were also fined $5 million and ordered to forfeit their first- and second-round draft picks for two years.
Cora, who has yet to be punished by MLB, parted ways with the Red Sox following the release of the investigation.
Koretz conceded that it’s “uncharted territory” to request Major League Baseball to strip two teams of their titles and award them to another, but he believes it would be warranted in light of the cheating that occurred.
“MLB did take it seriously by (issuing) significant suspensions, which were followed by major league clubs firing managers,” Koretz told City News Service. “There have been scandals in the past over the century-plus that we’ve had Major League Baseball in this country.
“I’m not sure if we’ve had this documented an effort to steal two World Series, and we know the results. … I think that would be an appropriate payback. I think this really besmirches the national pastime and the most historic sport in American history, and there has to be a message that this isn’t allowed.”
Koretz and Cedillo said they have not spoken with the Dodgers to see if they would even want to be awarded the titles after the fact.
The councilmen emphasized that they did not want the infractions to go unpunished, as they said there has been a “culture of cheating” in recent years, alluding to the college admissions scandal and the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
“This country needs to receive a message that cheating is not OK. We need that message now more than ever,” Koretz said.
The lifelong Dodgers fan said even the players who knew of the scheme to steal pitch signs but did not come forward about it should be held accountable. He said the cheating likely robbed the Dodgers of a shot at the titles, but he said there’s no way to know.
The losses also affect the local economy around the Dodgers organization, Koretz and Cedillo said, as the ball club may have received more interest had they won the two titles.
Councilman Bob Blumenfield said he agreed with the resolution, but it went too far by asking to award the Dodgers the championships. He said the team should focus on winning it all this season, but he voted in favor of the resolution.
According to Forbes, it is highly unlikely that the teams will have to forfeit their World Series titles, as Manfred is “exceptionally limited in making it happen without going to war with the MLBPA,” the union that represents major league players.
The resolution does not call for the city to take any legal action, although some Dodgers fans have suggested going to court over the matter.
The last time the Dodgers won the World Series was in 1988, when they defeated the Oakland Athletics.
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