Individually and collectively, the Los Angeles Dodgers have voiced their frustration and disappointment in the aftermath of Major League Baseball determining the Houston Astros electronically stole signs en route to winning the 2017 World Series.
But in doing so, Dodgers players have additionally emphasized the need to remain focused on the 2020 season. Justin Turner was among those address the scandal upon arriving at Camelback Ranch last week with pitchers and catchers.
He was measured in discussing the topic, but in the time since, Carlos Correa had an impassioned response to criticism from Cody Bellinger, and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred further incited the matter with his stance on the punishment and decision to not strip the 2017 World Series title.
So, Turner struck a different tone Monday. “I was trying to kind of diffuse and move forward, but the more that’s come out and the more that’s being said, the more frustrating it gets for us,” he began.
“I know Cody had his comments and he got off his chest what he had to say. I think he had every right to say what he said. I think a lot of players around the league are feeling the same way. I know every guy in this clubhouse supports him and what he said.
“It’s snowballing, I think it’s pretty obvious that whatever the commissioner thought he did, he didn’t do it very well. I think it all comes down to everyone keeps saying, ‘The facts, the facts. You don’t know the facts. These are the facts.’
“I don’t think anyone knows the facts. I think everyone just wants to hear all the facts. I think the commissioner didn’t do a good job of revealing all the facts to us. I still think there’s some stuff that maybe we don’t know.”
Manfred reasoned the humility Astros players are facing carried more weight than revoking their championship — or “piece of metal.” The casual view of the trophy particularly upset Turner. “I mean, I don’t know if the commissioner has ever won anything in his life,” he said.
“Maybe he hasn’t. But the reason all the guys in this room, the reason every guy is working out all offseason and showing up to camp early and putting in all the time and effort, is specifically for that trophy. Which, by the way, is called the commissioner’s trophy.
“So, for him to devalue it the way he did, it just tells me how out of touch he is with the players in this game. At this point the only thing devaluing that trophy is it says ‘commissioner’ on it.”
Turner went on to argue the Astros should not be considered World Series champions because they did not earn that right, and he explained how taking their title away likely would have eliminated the thirst players across the league have for exacting revenge.
“I just think it could’ve been handled differently and the game would be in a different state right now if it was,” Turner said. “Listening to the commissioner’s interview, talking about precedent, talking about there’s never been precedent. It’s because it’s never happened before. This is the first time in the game — to my knowledge — that this has happened.
“And he just set the precedent. He set a weak precedent. So now anyone who goes forward and cheats to win a World Series, they can live with themselves knowing that it’s OK.
“It’s just going to be, ‘We’ll cheat in the World Series and bring the title back to L.A. Screw Dave Roberts, and screw Andrew (Friedman). It’s just those guys losing their job. I still get to be called a champion the rest of my life.’ The precedent was set by him.
“It was, like Cody said, a pretty weak precedent, in my opinion.”
During a press conference on Tuesday, Manfred formally apologized for his dismissive comment about the World Series trophy, but he maintained taking it from the Astros presented a dangerous precedent.
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