The Dodgers are brimming with optimism about the 2020 season. They just added Mookie Betts and David Price to a roster teeming with talent. They are the overwhelming favorites to win the National League pennant. Winning their eighth straight division title should not be even a slight challenge.
But the Dodgers did not spend Friday morning talking to the media about the upcoming season because the baseball world is still caught up in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal after the organization’s apology tour took another hit Thursday.
Disappointment and anger were prevalent in the Dodgers’ clubhouse at Camelback Ranch. Cody Bellinger’s response was the strongest. The reigning National League MVP did not hold back, criticizing the Astros’ players, owner Jim Crane, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for their roles in the cheating and for their reactions.
“I thought Manfred’s punishment was weak, giving them immunity,” Bellinger said. “I mean these guys were cheating for three years. I think what people don’t realize is [Astro Jose] Altuve stole an MVP from [Yankee Aaron] Judge in ’17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us.”
Bellinger reiterated that he believes the Astros cheated well beyond the 2017 season.
“I mean, 100%,” Bellinger said. “I don’t know why they would stop.”
Bellinger was asked what he thought about the video circulating apparently showing Altuve telling his teammates not to take off his jersey in celebration after hitting a walk-off home run in Game 7 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees.
“I don’t know what human hits a walk-off home run against Aroldis Chapman to send your team to the World Series and, one, has the thought to say, ‘Don’t rip my jersey off,’” Bellinger said. “But to go in the tunnel, change your shirt, and then come out and do your interview — that makes no sense to me. Makes zero sense to me. Because I know me. Gary Sanchez said it yesterday. You can rip my shirt off, my pants off, I sent my team to the World Series off Aroldis Chapman in the ninth inning, at home, I’m going crazy.”