LOS ANGELES — Dodgers manager Dave Roberts echoed the feelings of some of his players in the wake of stark revelations about the Houston Astros’ illegal use of technology to steal signs throughout the 2017 season.
“‘Frustrating,'” Roberts said, “is probably the floor of my emotions.”
Despite those frustrations, all players who were made available during the team’s annual FanFest at Dodger Stadium on Saturday said they had no interest in being deemed champions in 2017 and 2018, referencing a resolution the L.A. City Council agreed to send to MLB earlier this week.
“We don’t want a trophy,” longtime Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. “We don’t want a fake banner hanging in our stadium. We didn’t earn that. We didn’t catch that final out to win a championship. We don’t want that.
“We just wanna move forward in 2020, get prepared this season, and do it the right way and get all those experiences — get to catch that last out, get to dogpile on the field, put on those shirts, put on those hats, have someone be the MVP and get a car, be in the locker room, spray the champagne. Get sized for rings. Take that parade that L.A. is dying to have, and have that parade in downtown L.A. and do it the right way.”
An investigation by Major League Baseball determined the Astros used a center-field monitor for real-time video of catchers’ signs and subsequently banged a trash can to alert their hitters of incoming pitches, confirming initial comments from Mike Fiers to The Athletic.
The sign-stealing practice — which also included the more conventional method of using the video replay room to decode signs and relay them to a runner on second base — extended into the 2017 postseason, when the Astros ultimately defeated the Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was asked if any members of the Astros have reached out to apologize and whether they have publicly shown enough remorse.
“They have not,” Friedman said regarding both questions.
Roberts said he specifically felt bad for pitchers like Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Yu Darvish, who took a lot of criticism for their performance against the Astros in that World Series.
“It’s really frustrating if you look at what could’ve happened,” Roberts said.
MLB released the findings of its investigation on Jan. 13 and also doled out punishments. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were each suspended for the entire season and subsequently fired by owner Jim Crane. The team was also fined $5 million and forced to forfeit four draft picks within the first two rounds of the next two drafts.
In the following days, Alex Cora, a bench coach for the 2017 Astros who went on to manage a Boston Red Sox team caught up in similar allegations, was fired. So was Carlos Beltran, a key veteran player on that Astros team who had just been named the New York Mets manager in November.
The Dodgers returned to the World Series in 2018 and lost in five games to the Red Sox, who are being investigated by MLB for using their video replay room to steal signs.
Pitcher Ross Stripling and infielder Enrique Hernandez both said they had suspicions about the Astros illegally stealing signs heading into the 2017 World Series, but didn’t know the extent of their methods.
“MLB did what they had to do, what they felt was necessary,” Turner said. “I think the tough part is — we know how hard it is to win a World Series. Getting there back-to-back years and not being successful — we know that it’s something that you really have to earn. With the commissioner’s report and the evidence and what they have, it’s hard to feel like [the Astros] earned it and they earned the right to be called champions, which I think is something everybody in this game holds pretty highly.”
Roberts considers himself a close friend of Hinch, who expressed his displeasure over the sign-stealing system by damaging the video monitor on two occasions, according to MLB’s report.
“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Roberts said. “I don’t think it’s personal.”
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