By Bill Hendrickson
The refusal of Major League Baseball to penalize the Houston Astros players for cheating in their 2017 World Series win* against the Los Angeles Dodgers puts a new spin on a resolution passed in January by the L.A. City Council.
The resolution, presented by Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz, called on MLB to strip the Astros of the World Series trophy and give it to the Dodgers. The media panned the resolution, saying that it amounted to whining.
Actually, the flaw in the resolution wasn’t that it was whiny; it’s that the remedy was off point: No one earned the 2017 World Series trophy. The Astros cheated and the Dodgers were robbed of the fair chance to win. Redistributing the trophy wouldn’t help that sad situation.
But the idea behind the resolution – that cheaters should be held accountable – is right. And it’s especially important now that MLB has choked.
There’s a lot that MLB could have done. It could have suspended the Astros. It could have told the players to forfeit the money from the win* or to forfeit their championship* rings.
But MLB did not do anything to the players, even though MLB’s own investigation found that the cheating scheme was “player driven and player executed.”
On February 13, just as spring training got started, the Astro players offered some contrite words and hangdog faces and then said they were ready to play ball.
There is just one problem: The fans and other MLB players, coaches and managers aren’t ready to move on.
The pushback from their peers has sent the Astros even deeper down their ethical rabbit hole. “We always talk about forgiveness, but nobody wants to forgive,” said Dusty Baker, the Astros’ new manager. “The only way to achieve forgiveness is to apologize for what you’ve done wrong, and we’ve apologized for what we’ve done wrong.”
Here’s what Dusty Baker and his players don’t get: The way to move past a wrong is to apologize and to make amends. MLB hasn’t imposed any amends on the Astros players and the players certainly haven’t come up with any. So, the wrong endures.
This goes beyond a tainted World Series. This is another moment in American public life, when the rules you thought applied don’t. It’s a world where cheaters prosper.
The game really has changed.
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