“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.
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.