L.A. City Council Wants Justice for the Dodgers—but They’re Out of Their League

Local politicians’ move to snatch World Series titles is a swing and a miss

Los Angeles is besieged by issues that demand the attention of elected officials. There is the travesty of homelessness. There is the unending pain of knuckle-whitening gridlock. There is a burgeoning LAPD scandal.

Add to that the Dodgers being cheated out of a couple potential World Series championships.

Don’t think that’s a topic ripe for government leaders? The Los Angeles City Council feels otherwise.

On Tuesday, the council approved a resolution requesting that Major League Baseball yank a pair of World Series trophies from franchises in other cities and give them to Los Angeles. The panel briefly discussed the matter before voting 10-0 in favor of trying to make Major League Baseball do something that has about as much chance of happening as resolution authors Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz do of hitting a Clayton Kershaw curveball.

I’ve seen the city council pull some pointless stunts in the past, but I can’t recall a move that is less likely to succeed or more out of their bailiwick than this. And I didn’t write that just to use the word “bailiwick.”

This resolution far exceeds anything requested by the Dodgers, who have asked Major League Baseball to—oh yeah, the team has not publicly asked MLB to do anything.

I’m still trying to fathom the reasoning behind the pie-in-the-sky resolution. Did Cedillo or Koretz lose a bar bet to a friend over the holiday, with the payout being that they have to come up with the most preposterous political maneuver possible? Do they think that if this succeeds, they’ll each get a World Series ring?

Like every Angeleno who’s enjoyed a warm summer night in Chavez Ravine, I understand the sentiment. The Houston Astros engaged in dastardly sign-stealing deeds in 2017, and the club went on to beat the Dodgers in the World Series in seven games. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred laid it all out in a nine-page statement on January 13, detailing the high-tech snatching with cameras and video relays, and the caveman-like tactics of informing hitters of upcoming off-speed pitches by banging on a garbage can, sometimes with a massage gun (really).

Manfred’s statement says another investigation into the Red Sox is ongoing, and in the 2018 World Series the Boston brigade crushed the Dodgers in five games.

Did this cheating rob the Dodgers of a championship? Perhaps, but no one can say for sure. Yet the council powers forward, and the one-page resolution reads like a mashup between a legal complaint and a sports story, detailing the transgressions and MLB’s crackdown on the squads, and peppering it with eight uses of the word “whereas.” It mentions former Astro and then Red Sox manager Alex Cora four times, which I’m willing to wager is four times more than he has ever been mentioned in official L.A. correspondence.

Then, it declares that the Astros and Red Sox should lose their titles “and hereby requests that the Commissioner of Major League Baseball recall the World Series Commissioner’s Trophies and award them to the Los Angeles Dodgers.”

When discussing the matter in council chambers this morning, things hit new levels. Both Koretz and Cedillo used baseball cheating as a springboard to mention the college admissions scandal and even Donald Trump. Now they’re swinging at all kinds of cheating!

Not everyone was fully on board. Councilman Bob Blumenfield said he thinks the motion goes “a little too far” in asking for the trophies to be awarded to the Dodgers. He also acknowledged that the vote was “purely symbolic,” but added that he didn’t want to vote against the home team. He threw his bat in with the other nine council members.

I’ve seen the city council pull some pointless stunts in the past, but I can’t recall a move that is less likely to succeed or more out of their bailiwick than this. And I didn’t write that just to use the word “bailiwick.”

My biggest question about the wackadoodle process is, what does this batch of well-paid L.A. lawmakers really expect to happen? Do they think the below will unfold:

Scene: MLB’s gold-tinged offices. Commissioner Manfred is sitting on a throne getting a manicure. An assistant bursts through the door.

Assistant: Boss! We’re in the soup now!

Manfred: What is it?

Assistant: Some L.A. politicians just demanded we take away the Astros and Red Sox World Series trophies and give them to the Dodgers!

Manfred: Good gravy, I never entertained such a concept, not even as this cheating scandal unfolded. The Dodgers have never cheated, right?

Assistant: Former Cy Young Award-winning reliever Eric Gagne admitted using human growth hormone and in his 2012 autobiography estimated that 80% of his Dodger teammates used performance enhancing drugs. But that’s minor stuff, right?

Manfred: Hmmmm.

Assistant: Hmmmm.

Manfred: Which politicians are involved?

Assistant: Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz.

Manfred: Never heard of them.

Assistant: Neither has anyone east of the L.A. County line. [Pause] Boss, should we give the trophies to the Dodgers?

Manfred and the assistant look at each other, then burst out in riotous laughter.

Maybe that scenario won’t happen, but it’s almost as likely as baseball transferring a couple World Series trophies.

In the meantime, L.A. still has homelessness, traffic, and a police scandal to deal with.

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