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LA Times: Dodgers were definitely cheated out of 2017 World Series Title by sign stealing

January 13, 2020 02:00PM
[www.latimes.com]

By BILL PLASCHKECOLUMNIST
JAN. 13, 2020 2:25 PM
For three years we’ve wondered, and now we know.

How did the Houston Astros hitters so easily pound three of the Dodgers’ hottest pitchers in two key games in Houston in the 2017 World Series?

How did they so easily wreck Yu Darvish for four runs in the second inning of a Game 3 Astros victory? How did they so effortlessly score 10 runs against Clayton Kershaw and Brandon Morrow in the Game 5 victory?

They cheated, that’s how.

They used technology at Minute Maid Park to steal the Dodgers’ signs. Their hitters knew what pitches were coming. They gleefully pounced on them. They accumulated 18 runs with 26 hits and five home runs in two series-changing victories that have now indelibly stamped an asterisk on an event forever marred by a sickening truth.

The Dodgers were cheated out of the 2017 World Series championship.

This is not sour grapes. This is not revisionist history. This is now and forever fact after a Major League Baseball investigation revealed Monday that the Astros used technology to cheat during their championship season.

MLB suspended both Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch for one year. They were quickly fired by Astros owner Jim Crane. MLB also fined the organization $5 million, and stripped it of two seasons’ worth of first- and second-round draft picks, yet still didn’t address the true damage.

The Dodgers were jobbed out of a championship that would have ended a 29-year drought, and what is MLB going to do about that?

The Dodgers won’t get to claim the title, that damage has already been done, that parade has already been lost. But the Astros should be forced to hand the Commissioner’s Trophy back to Commissioner Rob Manfred, right now, vacate the title, and forever leave that space in the record books as empty as the organization’s integrity.

The Dodgers didn’t win it on the field, but history should forever note that nobody beat them.

Clearly, nobody knows what would have happened if the Astros hadn’t cheated. And, yes, the record will show that the Dodgers eventually lost the World Series in a Game 7 meltdown at Dodger Stadium that did not involve confirmed Astros technological cheating.

But judging from the oddities of those middle three games in Houston — something was eerily wrong with Darvish, Kershaw and Morrow — there never should have been a Game 7. If the Astros had not cheated in Houston, it says here the Dodgers would have won the series in six.

The nine-page commissioners report details how the Astros stole catchers’ signs throughout the 2017 season by picking them up on a television feed and relaying them to batters by banging on a trash can, confirming an earlier admission by former Astros pitcher Mike Fiers to the Athletic.

Most cruelly, perhaps, the report notes that former Dodgers player Alex Cora, who was then an Astros coach, set the whole thing up when he “arranged for a video-room technician to install a monitor displaying the center-field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros dugout.”

Players could easily see the catcher’s signs, decode them, then relay the information by banging a trash can with a bat to indicate which pitch was coming.

This could not only help explain how the Astros won eight of nine games at home during that postseason, but also specifically how they could have so badly beaten three hot Dodger pitchers.

Darvish entered his Game 3 start with a 1.58 ERA in two previous postseason starts. Yet with noise from the trash cans apparently filling the dugout, he allowed four runs in the second inning.

Kershaw had pitched the best big game of his career in the series opener by allowing one run over seven innings while striking out 11 and walking none. Yet in Game 5, with the dugout TV glowing, he gave up a four-run lead and a three-run lead while being hammered for six runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Morrow allowed two runs in 12 1/3 previous postseason innings, but then suddenly in Game 5 he couldn’t get an out, allowing four runs on a homer, single, double and homer.

The Dodgers lost two of three in Houston, limped back to Los Angeles trailing three games to two in the series, and never regained their mojo.

In stealing the series, the Astros also stole pieces of reputations. The two losses in Houston furthered the narrative that Darvish was a choker, Kershaw could not pitch in October, and manager Dave Roberts struggled in big games because he overused Morrow.

Granted, Darvish blew Game 7, Kershaw has since continued his October heartaches and Roberts is still under fire. But if the Dodgers had won that series, wouldn’t the heat have been lifted off everybody? Would the ensuing two postseason failures have been viewed with such disgust?

The Houston Astros cheated the title-starved Dodgers of far more than a championship. They stole a legacy. They robbed history. They changed the sports narrative of this city forever.

Seriously, why is that Commissioner’s Trophy still in their Houston offices? Why can’t they at least have the decency give it back?

Better yet, the worthless thing should be tossed in a dugout trash can that the Dodgers can bang with a bat.
SubjectAuthorViewsPosted

  LA Times: Dodgers were definitely cheated out of 2017 World Series Title by sign stealing

sacram68January 13, 2020 02:00PM

  he is right....

LMU9319January 13, 2020 02:13PM

  Re: he is right....

21Dog16January 13, 2020 02:43PM

  Yes indeed..

sacram14January 13, 2020 05:07PM

  That's just horrible..

sstrams18January 13, 2020 02:39PM

  For the record....

RAMbler15January 14, 2020 12:16PM

  So sorry, man...

sstrams9January 14, 2020 01:21PM

  Why aren't Dodgers Compensated with Houston's Picks

David Deacon15January 14, 2020 01:19AM

  This is not good....

JamesJM16January 14, 2020 12:20PM

  Link to video example of the cheating

sacram14January 14, 2020 12:36PM

  Alex Cora fired nm

ferragamo799January 14, 2020 04:46PM

  Disgusted

Rampage2K-14January 15, 2020 12:09PM

  Yeah, cuz as long as..

sstrams12January 15, 2020 12:39PM

  Me thinks we doth protest too much

waterfield18January 15, 2020 04:58PM

  Re: Me thinks we doth protest too much

Rampage2K-19January 15, 2020 07:45PM

  Re: Me thinks we doth protest too much

waterfield13January 15, 2020 08:52PM

  Re: Me thinks we doth protest too much

Rampage2K-12January 15, 2020 09:09PM

  Re: Me thinks we doth protest too much

waterfield10January 16, 2020 07:32AM

  Echoing Green

21Dog11January 16, 2020 05:24AM

  LA Times story on the '51 scandal

21Dog11January 16, 2020 02:10PM

  Wow...

sacram12January 16, 2020 06:25PM

  Kershaw's game logs from the 2017 series

sacram13January 16, 2020 10:03AM

  Re: Kershaw's game logs from the 2017 series

Rampage2K-11January 16, 2020 10:59AM

  Re: Kershaw's game logs from the 2017 series

sacram12January 16, 2020 11:17AM

  Re: Kershaw's game logs from the 2017 series

21Dog9January 16, 2020 01:47PM

  Here's the answer to those who think the players should be punished

waterfield13January 18, 2020 01:44PM