If commissioner Rob Manfred expected his press conference on Sunday to ease tensions regarding the Houston Astros and their sign-stealing scandal, he was sorely mistaken. . Dodgers star Justin Turner took it one step further.
Monday morning Turner ripped Manfred for many things, including setting a "weak precedent" with his punishment. He believes the Astros should be stripped of their 2017 World Series title. "They shouldn't have rings. Sorry. A World Series championship is earned," Turner told The Athletic's Andy McCullough.
Turner was also upset that Manfred devalued the World Series trophy. Manfred said Sunday that stripping the Astros of the 2017 World Series title would accomplish nothing. Here's his quote:
"The idea of an asterisk or asking for a piece of metal back seems like a futile act. People will always know something was different about the 2017 season, and whether we made that decision right or wrong, we undertook a thorough investigation, and had the intestinal fortitude to share the results of the investigation, even when those results were not very pretty."
Calling the World Series trophy -- the Commissioner's Trophy -- a "piece of metal" rubbed Turner the wrong way and understandably so. Here's what he told reporters, including Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times:
"For him to devalue it the way he did yesterday just tells me how out of touch he is with the players in this game. At this point the only thing devaluing that trophy is that it says 'commissioner' on it."
Turner may be 35 but he still has his fastball. Goodness.
In all seriousness, I was stunned to hear Manfred refer to the World Series trophy in such a way. The sport is a $10 billion a year enterprise centered around winning that "piece of metal." Players work their entire lives to hoist it. Fans dedicate countless hours (and countless dollars) to watching their favorite team pursue that piece of metal.
. Two of the last three World Series winners were serial cheaters and the most recent postseason was marred by a baseball that played differently than the regular season ball. Also, tanking is more widespread than ever. Non-competitive games are now a nightly staple around the league.
Devaluing the World Series trophy like Manfred did Sunday will only further erode that credibility. Baseball is already dealing with a competitiveness crisis. The commissioner, the steward of the sport, disrespecting the World Series trophy is, for lack of a better word, gross. Imagine NHL commissioner Gary Bettman calling the Stanley Cup a piece of metal. He'd be fired on the spot.
If nothing else, it is clear opposing players are outraged over the Astros escaping the sign-stealing scandal with a relative slap on the wrist. They kept their title and the players were not punished despite damaging the sport and its credibility. I have no reason to believe this will all blow over before Opening Day. This is only the beginning.