I am not the world’s biggest Dodger fan. That title belongs to my son Jacob. But I am a pretty close second. So I was watching with interest last night when the Dodgers played the Houston Astros in the first meeting between the two teams since the Astros cheated the Dodgers out of a World Series Championship in 2017 by using electronics and technology to steal signs, thus giving their batters an unfair advantage over the Dodger pitchers. If you have any doubt that knowing whether the pitch coming at you is a fastball or a curveball makes a difference I can address that at a later date but let me be perfectly clear: what the Astros did was clearly against the rules of Major League Baseball.
So of course MLB did the right thing and took away the World Series Championship title that the Astros cheated to get. Well not exactly. The Astros got their hands gently slapped. They got to keep their title and the money they got for the winners share. What they did not get to keep was their integrity.
Last night in Houston the Dodger team got to express their anger. It came in the form of a current Dodger pitcher who was not even on the team in 2017 but has heard all the stories. He supported the 10 players still remaining on the team from that 2017 team by essentially messing with the Astros by throwing a series of very interesting pitches that went behind them, over their heads and towards their rib cages.
I am not an advocate of violence as a problem solving strategy but in this case I don’t think Joe Kelly was actually trying to hurt anyone so much as to send a message. And that message was loud and clear. The irony here is that this same Joe Kelly, then a St. Louis Cardinal, threw a pitch in too tight on Hanley Ramirez, the Dodgers star shortstop, breaking a couple of ribs and arguably costing the Dodger the chance to advance in the 2014 playoffs. Again, I don’t believe that Joe Kelly had it in his mind in October of 2014 to break a man’s ribs. But stuff happens.
Last night Joe Kelly fully redeemed himself. If you are on social media there is evidence that Dodger fans are recommending him for Sainthood and that they are willing to help him fill out the application.
But the one person Dodger fans will not deify is Rob Manfred, the commissioner of baseball. And here is why. Did you notice that MLB is BLM spelled backwards? But whereas BLM is a movement for social justice for our black brothers, to paraphrase the movie “A League of Their Own” there is no justice in baseball.
Call me crazy, but my family and I are heading down to San Diego on Monday to watch a Dodger game. Yes the stands will be empty because of the virus but it turns out there is a hotel outside Petco Park where from the top floor rooms you can see into the field. Our view will be poor but this seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity. And compared to the amount of money I spent on World Series tickets in 2017 this will be chump change.
My family and I were cheated out of a chance to watch our Dodgers celebrate a Championship on the field in game 6 of the 2017 World Series because the Astros cheated and it is simply unjust for them to still be allowed to call themselves the 2017 MLB World Champions.
So we are going on a mini vacation to watch our Dodgers play. But the only vacation I really want is for Major League Baseball to regain some form of integrity by “vacating” the Astros 2017 title.