The Los Angeles Dodgers were well aware of the reputation the Houston Astros had developed heading into their 2017 World Series matchup. L.A. took extra precaution, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a heartbreaking loss in seven games.
The sting of defeat has since been multiplied exponentially in the wake of Major League Baseball finding the Astros illegally stole signs by installing a live camera feed in center field at Minute Maid Park.
“Angry, I don’t know if it’s the right word,” Justin Turner said at Dodgers FanFest. “That was a tough World Series to swallow. To lose Game 7, it’s something that I said afterwards, we’ll never get over. With more and more stuff that comes out, it just kind of rehashes it.”
The Astros were fined $5 million, general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were suspended — and subsequently fired — and the team was stripped of first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 201 MLB Drafts. The organization, notably, retained their World Series title.
But public perception, specifically at Dodger Stadium, has turned on the Astros. “The tough part is we know how hard it is to win a World Series,” Turner said.
“Getting there back-to-back years and not being successful, we know it’s something you really have to earn. With the commissioner’s report, the evidence they had, it’s hard to feel like they earned a right to be called a champion, which is something I think everyone in this game holds pretty highly: to be called a champion.
“It sucks for the fans as well. It sucks for a lot of people. I read Rich Hill’s interview, and he talked about the guys in the clubhouse, the trainers, strength coaches, security guards, field crew, who all are financially rewarded for us making the playoffs. The difference in the money they would get from being a champion and runner-up, is life changing for those guys. I thought he made a really good point. Everyone wants to look at the trophy and banner and the big, shiny stuff, but it affects people on multiple levels.”
The L.A. City Council feels the Dodgers’ pain and last week unanimously voted to ask MLB to strip the Astros — and Boston Red Sox — of their respective titles. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred all but formally rejected the possibility.
Though the Dodgers are angered by the turn of events, they don’t seek to be retroactively awarded a World Series. “The narrative is that we haven’t won a championship in 33 years,” Turner acknowledged.
“That obviously wouldn’t be the case if things were different. But again, all this talk about that, it’s all in the past. There’s nothing we can do to change it. We don’t want a trophy, we don’t want a fake banner hanging in our stadium. We didn’t earn that, we didn’t catch that final out to win a championship, so we don’t want that.
“We just want to move forward in 2020, get prepared this season, do it the right way and get all those experiences: get to catch that last out, get to dogpile on the field, put on those shirts, put on those hats, have someone be an MVP and win a car, go in the locker room, spray the champagne, get sized for rings. Take that parade that L.A. is dying to have, and have that parade in downtown L.A., and do it the right way.”
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