The commissioner of Major League Baseball politely but logically rebuked the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday, saying the league is not interested in the council’s resolution calling for the Dodgers to be awarded the World Series championship trophies for 2017 and 2018.
“I think there’s a long tradition in baseball of not trying to change what happened,” Rob Manfred said on Fox Business.
The Dodgers lost to the Houston Astros in the 2017 World Series and to the Boston Red Sox in 2018. On Tuesday, the council unanimously approved a resolution asking MLB to void those titles and award them to the Dodgers. The league has concluded the Astros illegally used technology to steal signs in 2017 and is investigating similar allegations against the Red Sox.
Manfred said there were “a couple of problems” with the resolution.
“We haven’t concluded our investigation with the Red Sox, so it’s a little hard to take the trophy away from somebody who hasn’t yet been found to do something wrong,” he said. “We don’t know what the outcome of that is going to be.
“The second flaw is, whatever the impact of the sign-stealing was, it could have changed who was in the World Series. It’s absolutely unclear that the Dodgers would have been World Series champion. I think there’s a long tradition in baseball of not trying to change what happened. I think the answer from our perspective is to be transparent about what the investigation showed and let our fans make their own decision about what happened.”
There has been no popular groundswell of civic support for the resolution. Councilman Gil Cedillo, one of its sponsors, previously told The Times that he introduced the resolution on his own initiative, not at the request of the Dodgers or his constituents.
When the council discussed the issue Tuesday, councilman and co-sponsor Paul Koretz framed the issue as part of a larger crisis of cheating in American culture and politics.
“The country should be better than this,” Koretz said. “The national pastime should be better than this. There should be consequences.”
Only two members of the public spoke about the resolution, one excoriating the council for spending time on baseball amid the city’s crisis of homelessness, the other essentially saying he had no problem with a symbolic resolution but no great love for it either.
Among the council members themselves, only one who did not sponsor it even discussed it. Bob Blumenfield said he would vote for the resolution to support his colleagues, but he objected to the notion that the Dodgers should win a championship anywhere but on the field.
“Let’s go, Dodgers,” he said.
One of the players on the 2018 Dodgers, David Freese, said he wanted no part of a title awarded retroactively.
“Take the ring away? Maybe that’s the right thing to do. Maybe not,” Freese tweeted. “Who knows.
“Giving the title to the runner-up tho... that definitely ain’t it. Who would want it that way anyways.”
Take the ring away? Maybe that’s the right thing to do. Maybe not. Who knows. Giving the title to the runner-up tho... that definitely ain’t it. Who would want it that way anyways.— David Freese (@DavidFreese) January 21, 2020