The Houston Astros cheated during their 2017 World Series run.
And yet, Houston hoisting the trophy at the end of it all while being drenched in champagne, only was part of the impact felt from the electronic sign-stealing scandal. That season, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve took home AL MVP honors -- an award that should have gone to Yankees' Aaron Judge.
"I thought Manfred's punishment was weak, giving them immunity," Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger told reporters on Friday. "I mean, these guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don't realize is Altuve stole an MVP from Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us."
In 2017, the Dodgers were the Astros' opponent in the Fall Classic that went to seven games. The playing field obviously wasn't even during the World Series, and Bellinger believes the Dodgers would have snapped their Fall Classic drought had it not been for the Astros' sign-stealing.
Bellinger said the team had been doing the cheating for three seasons which could mean the Astros' participation that consisted of the technology, trash-can banging, and possibly buzzers, occurred through the 2019 season, and up until A's pitcher Mike Fiers blew the whistle.
On Thursday, the Astros held an anticipated press conference to offer apologies or lack thereof. Owner Jim Crane and star third baseman Alex Bregman offered insincere apologies and were taken to task by fellow players for not showing contrition.
Crane, the Astros' owner, also contradicted himself saying in his opinion, the sign-stealing didn't impact the game, then less than a minute later, said: "I didn't say it didn't impact the game."
"Our opinion is that this didn't impact the game." - Jim Crane— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) February 13, 2020
"I didn't say it didn't impact the game." - Jim Crane 55 seconds later pic.twitter.com/MnpPeeTUPL
The Dodgers, over the past several seasons, have towered over the Giants and the NL West. Imagine knowing that was the case, but the team above you did it illegally and with a major advantage. That's what the Astros did to the entire league.
This stretches beyond just a World Series title. Essentially, everything the Astros touched that season, and possible seasons beyond could be considered tainted. Bellinger, a rookie in 2017, got a taste of what that was in his first season as a major leaguer.
Season after season, the Astros were in the thick of the playoffs -- they were the team to beat, the best team in baseball in certain arguments. Bellinger being upset is validated.