Prior to Major League Baseball indefinitely postponing the start of the 2020 regular season due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, most of the attention centered around the Houston Astros and how they would respond after being found guilty for electronically stealing signs en route to winning the 2017 World Series.
Former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers sparked what would become a three-month investigation after detailing how the organization installed a camera in center field at Minute Maid Park to capture signs of opposing players.
After finding enough evidence to back Fiers’ claim, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred dropped the hammer on the Astros, fining the franchise $5 million and stripping them of multiple draft picks over the next two seasons.
Former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were additionally suspended for the 2020 season, only to be subsequently fired by owner Jim Crane.
While those penalties represent some of the most significant in MLB history, the Astros’ 2017 World Series championship was left untouched. Players were also granted immunity from potential suspensions for cooperating during the investigation process.
During a recent episode of the “Off Air with Joe and Orel” podcast, Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Orel Hershiser opined that MLB should have stripped Houston’s title while individually suspending players directly involved in the sign-stealing scandal:
“And the Houston Astros got fined $5 million dollars and none of the players got suspended, none of them lost salary, and they still get to wear a world championship ring and they still are in the books as the world champions? That’s a farce to me. That is a complete farce.”
Hershiser’s impassioned message aligns with sentiments previously shared by Cody Bellinger, Ross Stripling and Justin Turner, among others in the Dodgers clubhouse.
Each of those players were part of the 2017 Dodgers club that fell just short of ending their championship drought, losing to the Astros in seven games.
Hershiser considers L.A. the rightful champions, but the consensus among the Dodgers clubhouse during Spring Training was that they didn’t want to be handed the title.
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