By Tommy Fradenburg
The Los Angeles Dodgers, their fans and the city feels cheated.
They won the National League in 2017 and 2018, making back-to-back runs to the World Series. But in 2017 they lost to the Houston Astros in seven games and in 2018 they lost in five games to the Boston Red Sox.
But now, after both teams have been involved in illegal sign stealing (the Astros have already been punished while Boston awaits the results of Major League Baseball and commissioner Rob Manfred’s investigation), the city of Los Angeles wants the trophies they feel their team earned. The Los Angeles City Council will vote on Friday on a resolution to formally request Manfred strip the Astros and Red Sox of their titles and award them to the Dodgers.
LA CITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION: 2 councilmen call on Major League Baseball to award the 2017 and 2018 World Series titles to the Dodgers after findings of cheating. https://t.co/IC4oXRM9lZ pic.twitter.com/0XWRVkQWjU
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) January 16, 2020
City Council members Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz put the resolution forward on Wednesday, and Cedillo added to reporters, “This is an equity and justice thing. Who was the best team in 2017? Who was the best team in 2018? It was the Dodgers.” Cedillo was also asked if he would support using public funds to help bring the title to L.A., but he was not ready to discuss specifics on that just yet.
“That’s a different question,” he told reporters. “I am focused right now on the Dodgers and the Dodgers fans getting justice. The mere acknowledgment is so significant. There has to be an acknowledgment the best team in baseball those two years was the Dodgers.”
The resolution comes in the wake of Manfred suspendeding Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for the entire 2020 MLB season along with a $5 million fine and revoking first and second round draft picks for 2020 and 2021. The punishment however did not include any players involved in the scandal (including now-New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran), which has upset some.
In his official statement Manfred acknowledges, “Witnesses consistently describe this new scheme as player-driven,” but felt he could not fairly assess punishments for players as, “virtually all of the Astros’ players had some involvement or knowledge of the scheme, and I am not in a position based on the investigative record to determine with any degree of certainty every player who should be held accountable, or their relative degree of culpability.”
Astros owner Jim Crane has since fired Hinch and Luhnow, while former bench coach and Alex Cora has parted ways with the Red Sox he lead to the 2018 title (Cora is under a separate investigation for his sign stealing program as manager in Boston).
Alex Cora, who is awaiting discipline from MLB for his role in a sign-stealing scheme by the Astros, will no longer be the manager of the Red Sox. https://t.co/wGMFPHZ1ki
— ESPN (@espn) January 15, 2020
MLB has yet to comment on the resolution but has not indicated they ever intended to officially strip the Astros of their 2017 title. Their reasoning according to the L.A. Times was that stripping the title would not wipe fans memories of who won the actual games in addition to wishing to avoid risking fall out should it be discovered the Dodgers were involved in something similar.
The 2019 Dodgers looked on a collision course for a third consecutive World Series before being upset by the Washington Nationals in the NLCS (who went on to beat the Astros for their first championship). The Red Sox and Astros have not released timelines or potential targets to fill their new vacancies.