Associated Press

Dodgers on Astros: ‘They cheated and got away with it’

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers would rather earn a World Series trophy on their own than accept any scraps from the Houston Astros or Boston Red Sox, the teams that beat them in 2017 and ’18.

Despite being eager to focus on the upcoming season, several Dodgers publicly for the first time expressed annoyance at the Astros for the sign-stealing system used during the 2017 season, when Houston beat them in seven games in the World Series.

“They cheated and they got away with it,” utilityman Kike Hernandez said Saturday during the team’s annual FanFest outside Dodger Stadium. “I don’t think it hurts more now than it did three years ago when we lost the Series.”

Hernandez said the Dodgers “had our doubts” about the Astros in 2017.

“Everybody warned us. A lot of people told us to worry about them,” Hernandez said. “We just thought it was just rumors, but I guess not.”

Two weeks ago, Major League Baseball released the findings of its investigation, which concluded 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 by Mike Fiers to The Athletic.

MLB suspended Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch for the entire season and both were subsequently fired by owner Jim Crane. The team was also fined $5 million.

The Red Sox are under investigation for possibly stealing signs in Alex Cora’s first season as manager in 2018, when Boston beat the Dodgers. Cora has since been fired.

“Frustrating is probably the floor of my emotions,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.

In hindsight, Roberts said pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Yu Darvish received “unfair criticism” for their performances against the Astros in the World Series.

“It’s really frustrating if you look at what could’ve happened,” Roberts said.

Roberts has a long friendship with Hinch, whom he said he hasn’t spoken to since the scandal broke.

“I don’t think it really affects our relationship personally,” Roberts said.

The Los Angeles City Council voted symbolically this week to ask MLB to strip the Astros and Red Sox of their World Series titles and award the trophies to the Dodgers.

Thanks but no thanks, third baseman Justin Turner said.

“We don’t want a trophy, we don’t want a fake banner hanging in our stadium,” he said. “We didn’t earn it.”

At the same time, Turner called into question the Astros’ right to call themselves champions.

“It’s hard to feel like they earned it,” he said. “Just not 100% sure if they should be called champions for the rest of their lives.”

Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations, was asked whether the Astros have contacted him to apologize or publicly been contrite enough.

“They have not,” he said in answer to both questions.

After initially poring over MLB’s report, Friedman said he’s tried to let it go.

“It’s just wasted energy and effort at this point because that’s taking away from something that we can do to help make ourselves better in 2020,” he said.

Turner said the players want to experience everything that goes along with winning a World Series, including dog-piling on the field after the final out, popping Champagne in the clubhouse, and parading through the city’s streets.

“We want to do it the right way,” he said.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.