Mookie Betts, David Price Arrive In Camp, But Specter Of Astros Cheating Plagues Dodgers

 forbes.com  02/14/2020 19:05:03 
Dodgers Price Betts Baseball

New Los Angeles Dodgers players David Price and Mookie Betts were introduced during a news ... [+] conference at the Dodger Stadium the other day. The were in camp in Arizona with their new teammates Friday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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Mookie Betts and David Price arrived at Los Angeles Dodgers camp early Friday morning at Camelback Ranch in Arizona for the first workout of the spring.

While the two former Boston Red Sox stars come with their own baggage, they walked into an ongoing firestorm about how the lying, cheating, electronic sign stealing Houston Astros cost the Dodgers the 2017 World Series.

We could probably win the next five World Series and Ill remember losing that one more than the five, Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said. It stinks. Its just like ripping open a scab.

Did the Red Sox do the same when they beat the Dodgers in 2018? Thats still be determined by the pending results of an ongoing Major League Baseball investigation. 

The outcome, Betts was asked, should easily be determined?

Nothing will happen, because there was nothing go on, Betts told Boomskie on Baseball.

Ditto, Price.

I dont think anything will happen, to be honest, the left-handed pitcher said. I guess the result will be out here soon, but I dont think anything will come of that.

If it does, the Dodgers will have to deal with it all over again, up front and personnel.

Meanwhile, their reactions to the Astros were granular. Despite Thursdays well-scripted semi-apologies out of Houstons camp in West Palm Beach, Florida, the Dodgers arent buying it and perhaps thats similar around the rest of baseball.

Theres nothing they can really say that will make any difference, Turner said.

Its hard to understand how the Houston organization gets beyond it. Their 2017 World Series title in seven games wasnt vacated, but it might as well have been. Like Cincinnatis 1919 victory over the Black Sox team that gambled away and threw that World Series, there will always be a stain on the results.

For that matter, there always will be the perception the Astros are doing something nefarious, despite preventative measures installed by MLB and within their own organization.

Definitely, said Cody Bellinger, the National Leagues reigning MVP. I know personally I lost respect for those guys. I would say everyone in The Show, in the big leagues lost respect for those guys. They just got to work it out and be themselves because they were a damned good team even without the trash cans.

Baseball comes into the spring facing a tangle of integrity and ethics issues. The sport is not so far removed from the so-called steroid era when some of its major stars were either suspected or confirmed to have used performance-enhancing drugs, skewing individual records forever.

It never ends as minor leaguers and a few big leaguers are still testing positive only to be suspended from the sport today.

Is Barry Bonds the all-time home run leader, or is it Hank Aaron? Bonds is still in the books as the all-time leader with 762, but like the 2017 Astros, its all in the eye of the beholder.

Plus, as sports, in general, are about to embark on an era of legal gambling inside stadiums and arenas, is it fair that Pete Rose, the gambling king and all-time leader with 4,256 hits remains ineligible to work in baseball?

As is his right within the suspension agreement he signed in 1989 with the late Commissioner Bart Giamatti, he has again petitioned for reinstatement. Commissioner Rob Manfred this time needs to give Rose a very close look.

Should Bonds, Rose, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa be in the Hall of Fame? They all need a closer and more thoughtful look, too. 

Now add the sign-stealing scandal. Like steroids, it will take at least a generation to ahem, ingest these illegal activities. And how will that affect Hall of Fame voting on guys like Alex Bregman, George Springer and Jose Altuve?

If we could only ask Shoeless Joe Jackson, who took the money, but still hit .375 in that 1919 World Series. According to baseball rules, Jackson in death is no longer ineligible. But the Hall hasnt given him a sniff.

I would rather face on a guy on steroids than a guy who knows whats coming on every pitch, said Alex Wood, who pitched successfully for the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series and is back with the team this spring. People know what steroids does for you and what it does for so many guys. You cant even compare the two, honestly. 

Steroids can make you more physically talented, healthy stronger, but you still have to play baseball. Its like cheating in a video game when you know every pitch is coming. If that happens in The Show youre probably going to win every time.

The Houston revelations certainly cast some light on what happened in the 2017 World Series.

The tying homer Kenley Jansen let up to Marwin Gonzalez, leading off the top of the ninth inning of Game 2 at Dodger Stadium. Springers two-run shot in the 11th off Brandon McCarthy that won the game.

Clayton Kershaws six-run performance in 4 2/3 innings of a Game 5 loss at Houstons Minute Maid Park where the Astros were 6-1 that postseason and the trash can covers were evidently clanging. And as Wood pointed out, the four runs on four hits to four batters the previously untouchable Brandon Morrow allowed in relief that night.

The ineffectiveness of Yu Darvish in Games 3 and 7 losses at Houston and Los Angeles, respectively. Darvish had a 21.60 ERA, eight earned runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 total innings.

Thinking about all thats going to drive us crazy, Turner said. It was already something we were going to have live with forever.

Those images will haunt the Dodgers all season as they try win their eighth consecutive NL West title and capture the World Series for the first time since 1988. Perhaps that would be more balm to the wounds than Turner thinks.

Ive made peace with it, Kershaw said. But thats the other thing. Each guy in this clubhouse is going to handle it differently. Everybodys going to be honest about it. Everyones going to move on in their own way. The scriptedness of what happened with Houston yesterday, it didnt seem very genuine.

I think over here youre going to feel it. Youre going to feel the genuineness of how we feel, and were going to move on a little bit easier.     

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