LA City Council asks MLB to award Dodgers two World Series titles


LA City Council asks MLB to award Dodgers two World Series titles

“This crisis goes beyond the sport and the game.”

Those are the words of Gil Cedillo, a member of the Los Angeles City Council, which asked Major League Baseball on Tuesday to revoke the Houston Astros’ 2017 World Series title, as well as the title won by the Boston Red Sox in 2018. The resolution also asks that the Dodgers, who were on the losing end in both series, be awarded the championships.

Houston recently was implicated in an electronic sign-stealing scandal, which now has led to the dismissal of both manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, as well as former Red Sox manager Alex Cora and former Mets manager Carlos Beltran. Both Cora and Beltran were with Houston when the sign-stealing occurred, and were implicated in the report released by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred back on Jan. 13.

The Astros also were docked multiple draft picks and received a $5 million fine, although no current players were disciplined.

The MLB report on the reported wrongdoing by the Red Sox has yet to be released, so there isn’t any proof that Boston engaged in any nefarious schemes during the 2018 season.

While Houston clearly was in the wrong and violated the integrity of MLB, the mere act of revoking a championship, not to mention awarding it to the team that was defeated, would be an unprecedented move in professional sports.

The NCAA, which is far from an organization to be modeled after, didn’t just hand the Heisman Trophy to former Texas quarterback and runner-up Vince Young when it took away Reggie Bush’s award after finding he accepted improper benefits while attending USC.

Politicians have used sports to cull political favor since the dawn of time, including Vice President Mike Pence recently telling the crowd at a Wisconsin rally that “the Green Bay Packers will defeat Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco 49ers!”

In a city with enough homeless to more than fill out the seats at Dodger Stadium and traffic on par with the most overcrowded cities in the world, a governmental body has chosen to focus its attention on a purely symbolic ploy to garner support from Dodgers fans who feel they were robbed of not one, but two World Series titles.

It’s worth noting that the council has not contacted the Dodgers or MLB, and the team has not made any comments regarding the situation with the Astros, per the league’s request.

In a classic case of political grandstanding, the L.A. city council is trying to capitalize on a national scandal to score a few cheap points in the polls.

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L.A. hasn’t won a World Series since 1988, and understandably is frustrated that despite qualifying for two of the last three Fall Classics, it was sent home empty-handed on both occasions. Especially when your archrivals in San Francisco captured three championships within the last decade.

My resolution for the L.A. City Council: Get a grip on reality and accept that you aren’t the arbiters of morality. Use your platform to focus on policy that actually matters in the real lives of your constituents, instead of two meaningless World Series titles that everyone who actually watched remembers they didn’t win.

Wilmer Flores looks to add more power to Giants' lineup this season

Wilmer Flores looks to add more power to Giants' lineup this season

Wilmer Flores made history this offseason. He became the first player Farhan Zaidi signed to a multiyear contract with the Giants, when the veteran infielder inked his two-year deal earlier this month. 

Now that he's with the Giants in spring training, Flores is trying to add something to San Francisco that the team badly lacked last season: Power. It's not like that's what the 28-year-old is known for, though. 

Flores hit nine homers in 89 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, but his .848 OPS was a career-high and his .487 slugging percentage was one point off the best of his career. 

"I've always been a guy who puts the ball in play," Flores said Friday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac Show." "I'm trying this year to hit the ball a lot more in the air. That's what I'm trying to do a lot more this year. Ground balls are not hits anymore. You gotta hit the ball in the air." 

From 2015-2018, however, he averaged 15 long balls per season and clearly has bought into baseball's power movement with more launch angle. 

Flores should have an interesting role on the Giants this season. The keyword around Gabe Kapler's spring training is "versatility." Mauricio Dubon already has embraced it, and Flores believes he can thrive anywhere around the infield. 

"In the infield, I can play anywhere if you want me to," Flores said.

But he clearly prefers a certain spot.

"If you ask me, I'll stay at second base," Flores said. 

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That position is full of competition for the Giants this season. Along with Flores and Dubon, Yolmer Sanchez -- who won an AL Gold Glove last season -- and Donovan Solano are vying for time as well. Flores played 64 games at second base and 16 at third last year. He also has plenty of time at shortstop and first base under his belt as well. 

Whether it's more defensive versatility or adding more power, Flores figures to be a key player for the Giants this season.

Giants GM Scott Harris explains signing Hunter Pence over Kevin Pillar

Giants GM Scott Harris explains signing Hunter Pence over Kevin Pillar

Madison Bumgarner wearing a jersey other than one for the Giants still remains a shock to some. The front office made a bit of another controversial decision as well when moving on from last season's home-run leader. 

Kevin Pillar quickly became a fan favorite in San Francisco for his diving catching in center field and ability to actually his the ball out of Oracle Park. And then, the Giants let the Willie Mac Award winner walk this past offseason. 

The Giants non-tendered Pillar in December, making him a free agent. The veteran outfielder was expected to make around $10 million in arbitration. Instead of bringing him back, the Giants essentially opted to replace him with a Hunter Pence reunion, costing the front office only $3 million.

Pillar wound up signing a one-year, $4.25 million contract with the Boston Red Sox earlier this month.

General manager Scott Harris further explained what went into those decisions. 

“Hunter fills an important hole for us on our team," Harris said on KNBR's "Murph & Mac Show" on Friday. "He helps us run out a very formidable lineup against left-handed pitching. He’s also familiar with our ballpark and brings leadership skills we think are going to complement our young core.

“In Kevin’s case, he was an excellent player for us last year, he had one more year of team control so he was going to be a free agent at the end of next year anyways.

"We wanted to create opportunities for our young players and invest in our young players. That doesn’t mean money, it means investing at-bats, it means investing innings in center field, it means investing in the opportunity to grind through a major league season and really prove yourself at this level.”

The Giants still seem to have question marks in center field. Middle infielder Mauricio Dubon will get innings there this spring, and has embraced being a versatile player for manager Gabe Kapler. Mike Yastrzemski is expected to start the season in center, and he can play all three outfield positions. Steven Duggar, Jaylin Davis and the speedy Billy Hamilton all are expected to fight for innings as well. 

Pence, however, will not play any center field. He is expected to mostly play left field while also helping in right as well. 

As Kapler and the Giants hope to be versatile all over the field, it's likely their outfielders will have to play multiple positions. 

[RELATED: How MadBum pitched for D-backs in his first spring outing]

Harris is right, though. While Pillar hit .278 with nine homers and an .823 OPS against lefties last season, Pence was even better. In his comeback season with the Texas Rangers, Pence batted .327 with a 1.015 OPS and knocked out eight homers against southpaws. 

Whether Harris wants to admit it or not, money did play a factor here. But Pence does bring mentorship to a young roster, and fans already are clamoring about having him back in San Francisco.